Natural Increase: A New Source of Population Growth in Emerging Hispanic Destinations in the United States



Updated US Census Bureau estimates and race/ethnic-specific birth and death data for the post-2000 period are used to highlight the increasing role of natural increase as an engine of population growth in emerging Hispanic destinations. Newly emerging Hispanic growth areas are distinguished from established and high-growth areas from the 1990s. The findings document that recent Hispanic population gains have been generated increasingly by natural increase—the excess of Hispanic births over deaths. Hispanics accounted for 46 percent of the population gain and 53 percent of the natural increase in nonmetro America in 2000–2005. Yet, Hispanics represented only 5.4 percent of the nonmetro population in 2000. In metro areas, they accounted for 50 percent of the population gain and 47 percent of the natural increase, although they comprised only 14 percent of the metro population. Current trends suggest that the ascendancy of the US Hispanic population is likely to continue unabated, whether restrictive immigration legislation is enacted or not. The growth of the Hispanic population, caused increasingly by natural increase, has taken on a demographic momentum of its own.