Will Latinos become the majority demographic in Texas?

UTSA’s Dean for the College of Public Policy Dr. Rogelio Sáenz published a report earlier this month that examines the factors behind the fast-growing Latino population rates. According to the report, high birth rates, low infant mortality rates and immigrant culture will position Latino children to be 40 percent of the U.S. child demographic by 2060.

This puts Latino children in a position to replace caucasian children as the largest demographic.

The Council on Contemporary Families commissioned his report, “The State of Latino Children.” The organization wanted to examine the changes in family and population since the Civil Rights era.

Accurate demographic information about Latinos in the U.S. has only recently come to light. “In 1980, … six percent of the population was mostly Mexican, Mexican-American population in the Southwest. So it was considered a small regional minority that not many people knew about,” said Dr. Sáenz.

The Latino population was first documented in the 1960s by Spanish surname, regional areas or the ability to speak Spanish.

Most of the information used in the report is based on the American Community Survey from 2011. His findings show that more than 90 percent of children who are identified as Latino are born in the United States or abroad to U.S. citizens.

“In terms of fertility, I think the educational differences create this high fertility. For example, Latino women who are college graduates are going to have on average 1.5 to 1.6, kids but women with lower levels of education, like high school graduates, will have 2.5 to 2.8 kids,” says Dr. Sáenz.

Another factor for the rise in Latino births is immigration. Women who are immigrants usually have lower levels of education and high fertility rates.

However, infant mortality rates are found to be lower for Latino immigrants compared to caucasian infant mortality rates.

Dr. Sáenz believes that there are two factors explaining this paradox—immigrant culture (such as the closeness of family and a certain diet) and the fact that immigrants need to be healthy in order to cross the border.

“When people immigrate to the United States, they tend to be healthier (and) have healthy babies. Then, there is a statistical issue for the adult population called ‘salmon bias’—for example, if Mexican adults immigrate to the U.S. but become sick, it’s more likely they will return to Mexico. If those adults die in Mexico, their death is counted as a statistic over there,” says Dr. Sáenz.

More Latinos are completing high school and becoming a larger portion of college students in the United States.

According to UTSA’s student profile report for fall 2013, there were 46.6 percent Hispanics (Latinos); 29.2 percent White, non-Hispanics; 8.7 percent African-Americans and 5.1 percent Asian-American students at the university.

Politicians have taken note the increasing voting power of Latinos, and many candidates depend on the Latino vote. However, only 38.8 percent of Hispanics living in Texas voted in the last general elections.

“In Texas, the white population increased by 10 percent and non-white populations increased by 90 percent. 70 percent of the non-white population growth was from Latinos…but when the redistricting was done, all the new districts were given (to the areas where the caucasian population increased),” says Dr. Sáenz.

“We’ve seen all these strategies that are being initiated to try to deal with the growing Latino population.

There are also issues of education—if you make it difficult for kids to have a good education, then they are less likely to be civically engaged and less likely to vote,” says Dr. Sáenz.

UTSA’s Dean for the College of Public Policy Dr. Rogelio Sáenz published a report earlier this month that examines the factors behind the fast-growing Latino population rates. According to the report, high birth rates, low infant mortality rates and immigrant culture will position Latino children to be 40 percent of the U.S. child demographic by 2060.

This puts Latino children in a position to replace caucasian children as the largest demographic.

The Council on Contemporary Families commissioned his report, “The State of Latino Children.” The organization wanted to examine the changes in family and population since the Civil Rights era.

Accurate demographic information about Latinos in the U.S. has only recently come to light. “In 1980, … six percent of the population was mostly Mexican, Mexican-American population in the Southwest. So it was considered a small regional minority that not many people knew about,” said Dr. Sáenz.

The Latino population was first documented in the 1960s by Spanish surname, regional areas or the ability to speak Spanish.

Most of the information used in the report is based on the American Community Survey from 2011. His findings show that more than 90 percent of children who are identified as Latino are born in the United States or abroad to U.S. citizens.

“In terms of fertility, I think the educational differences create this high fertility. For example, Latino women who are college graduates are going to have on average 1.5 to 1.6, kids but women with lower levels of education, like high school graduates, will have 2.5 to 2.8 kids,” says Dr. Sáenz.

Another factor for the rise in Latino births is immigration. Women who are immigrants usually have lower levels of education and high fertility rates.

However, infant mortality rates are found to be lower for Latino immigrants compared to caucasian infant mortality rates.

Dr. Sáenz believes that there are two factors explaining this paradox—immigrant culture (such as the closeness of family and a certain diet) and the fact that immigrants need to be healthy in order to cross the border.

“When people immigrate to the United States, they tend to be healthier (and) have healthy babies. Then, there is a statistical issue for the adult population called ‘salmon bias’—for example, if Mexican adults immigrate to the U.S. but become sick, it’s more likely they will return to Mexico. If those adults die in Mexico, their death is counted as a statistic over there,” says Dr. Sáenz.

More Latinos are completing high school and becoming a larger portion of college students in the United States.

According to UTSA’s student profile report for fall 2013, there were 46.6 percent Hispanics (Latinos); 29.2 percent White, non-Hispanics; 8.7 percent African-Americans and 5.1 percent Asian-American students at the university.

Politicians have taken note the increasing voting power of Latinos, and many candidates depend on the Latino vote. However, only 38.8 percent of Hispanics living in Texas voted in the last general elections.

“In Texas, the white population increased by 10 percent and non-white populations increased by 90 percent. 70 percent of the non-white population growth was from Latinos…but when the redistricting was done, all the new districts were given (to the areas where the caucasian population increased),” says Dr. Sáenz.

“We’ve seen all these strategies that are being initiated to try to deal with the growing Latino population.

There are also issues of education—if you make it difficult for kids to have a good education, then they are less likely to be civically engaged and less likely to vote,” says Dr. Sáenz.

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