For as long as I’ve been writing about Latino culture, I’ve referred to us as the nation’s fastest growing minority. It’s a handy little phrase when one doesn’t want to use the more cumbersome descriptor for Hispanics, which is “sexiest people on the face of the planet.”
Well, you can imagine my surprise — nay, my disappointment — when I ran into this item online:
“Contrary to perception in some parts, Hispanics were not the fastest-growing race or ethnic group in the US last year.”
What? This is madness! We’ve been number one for so long that it is our collective birthright. So who are these usurpers to the throne?
It turns out that Asians are now the nation’s fastest-growing race or ethnic group. Their population rose by almost 2.9 percent to 19.4 million, an increase of about 554,000.
Of course, Hispanics still are the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, making up 17.1 percent of the total population. And we grew at a very respectable rate of 2.1 percent, to more than 54 million.
But somehow, this comes as small consolation.
What’s most intriguing about these numbers is that “more than 60 percent of this growth in the Asian population came from international migration.”
In contrast, Latino population growth “was fueled primarily by natural increase (births minus deaths), which accounted for 76 percent of Hispanic population change.”
In essence, Latino immigration is way down, no matter what you’ve heard. So the immigrants who do get in are more likely than before to be Asian.
So congratulations to our Asian brothers and sisters. If you keep growing at this pace, it won’t be long before you have your own equivalent of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC, when you turn the nation’s largest city into a swirling party that engulfs everyone nearby whether they want to be part of it or not.
It’s something to shoot for.