Latinos, Asians fuel California growth; 51% under age 18 now Latino

March 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Surging numbers of Latinos and Asians accounted for virtually all of California’s population growth during the past decade. The Latino population grew by 28% to 14 million in the nation’s most populous state, while Asian numbers grew by 31% to 4.8 million. In contrast, non-Hispanic whites decreased by 5%, and the state’s African-American population dipped by 1%. Demographers say the Latino population is growing faster than other ethnic groups because many Latinos are of child-bearing age, while the rest of the population tends to skew older. California has also benefited from immigration from Asia and Latin America, even while residents have left for other states in search of jobs and cheaper housing. Latino children became a majority in California in that category over the past decade as the number of non-Hispanic white children dropped 21%. Kenneth Johnson, a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, said that reflects a pattern seen elsewhere in the country where the number of non-Hispanic white children is falling because the white population is considerably older, leaving fewer white women in their childbearing years. 51 percent of Californians under age 18 are now Latino. Hans Johnson, director of research at the Public Policy Institute of California, said the growing diversity in suburbia might eventually ease the political divide between a largely Democratic coastal region and more Republican inland California since Latinos are more likely to vote Democratic. “The caveat here is that many Latinos are immigrants and not naturalized citizens and therefore not eligible to vote,” Johnson said. “That is why the voting patterns will lag the demographic changes, but they are coming.” (AP)


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