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The Extraordinary 30-Year Growth of the U.S. Hispanic Population

The Extraordinary 30-Year Growth of the U.S. Hispanic Population
Pew Research Center

Since 1980, the U.S. Hispanic population has grown from 14.6 million people, per the Census Bureau, to nearly 52 million as of 2011. And in that time, the geography of the demographic has expanded dramatically, too.

Hispanics still remain largely clustered in the Southwest and Florida: Today, fully 9 percent of all Hispanics in the United States live in Los Angeles County alone. And just 100 counties combined contain 71 percent of the Latino population (that's out of more than 3,000 counties nationwide). But as the below maps, from a new Pew report mapping the Latino population, show, their reach has spread broadly, up both coasts and into the Midwest.

This GIF is created with maps tracing the Hispanic share of the population by county, from 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2011:


Counties where Hispanics make up the largest share of the local population, by percent. Maps created by the Pew Research Center using Census Bureau county population datasets.

Since 2000, counties in every region of the country have seen fast-paced growth in Hispanic populations:


Today, Hispanics live in the greatest numbers in Los Angeles County; Harris County, Texas (around Houston); Miami-Dade County, Florida; Cook County, Illinois (around Chicago); and Maricopa County, Arizona (around Phoenix). Where the local population has grown the most since 1980:


Counties where the Hispanic population is now the largest in 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010, 2011. Maps created by the Pew Research Center using Census Bureau county population datasets.

All of these maps recall this recent post from Wonkblog pointing out that, for all their expanding influence (geographically and politically), Hispanics are still few in number in the Congressional districts where immigration reform could use some crucial votes.

Top map via the Pew Research Center.

Emily Badger is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities based in Washington, D.C. She now writes for The Washington Post. All posts »

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