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The Latino New South: Surprising Facts

Since 1990, the Southeastern U.S. has become the nation’s fastest growing Latino region.

  • Between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population in the South grew by 57.3%.
  • The Southeast is a region that long had the FEWEST immigrants in the US
  • From 2000 through 2013, the swiftest growing major Latino market in the US was Charlotte! 13.1% of residents are Latino.

 “Latino” and “Hispanic” are both new terms.

  • Many folks see themselves as residents of their particular country, with its own distinct culture and history.  It’s only in the U.S. that they become lumped together as one group.
  • The term Hispanic was coined by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 1970s to describe people of Spanish speaking origin. Latino is more tied to national origin than language.

About half of Latinos in the South are already U.S. citizens. Most Latino population growth fueled by U.S. births

  • People born in Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, are U.S. citizens.
  • Most Latinos are native-born Americans, and nearly three in four Latinos (74%) are U.S. citizens - a growing number of Latinos are completing the long and difficult process to become naturalized citizens.
  • While some immigrants arrive undocumented, others may lose their documentation, often due to a job lay off or overstayed visa. Roughly 300,000 NC Latinos are undocumented.

Latinos are having a huge impact on local economies

  • Latinos are reviving small towns which had long been losing residents. In 28 towns across North Carolina, Latinos are over 20% of the population.
  • The 2012 purchasing power of North Carolina's Latinos totaled $14.0 billion, up 1,571% since 1990-- fastest growth rate in the US.
  • Latinos are younger than the US population as a whole, most are under 35 years old.

Latino voters have become a pivotal factor for political candidates and elections

  • A record 11.2 million Latinos voted in the 2012 presidential election and comprised 10% of the electorate.
  • 60,000 Latinos turn 18 each month and become eligible to vote.
  • 25 million eligible Latino voters nationwide.
  • North Carolina is seeing steady increases in registered Latino voters. As of 2012, Mecklenburg and Wake counties had the largest numbers of registered Latino voters in the state.
  • 113,000 registered Latino voters in NC.