Hispanic Population in the United States

Researchers in demographics have persistently foretold that the rapidly growing Hispanic population would inevitably develop into the leading minority group in the United States. Updated data released from the 2000 census reveal that this belief is fast approaching actualisation. The data indicates that America's Hispanic population grew by 58% during the 1990s, putting Hispanics practically equal with African-Americans as the country's biggest minority group. Most demographers predicted that the Hispanic population would equal or exceed African-Americans by 2005. But that may occur sooner than initially anticipated. (Travierso, Maria., 2001, 1) How has this approaching dominance among minorities occurred and what does this mean to the U.S. population at large?

Much of this increase in the proportion of Hispanics to the rest of the population is attributed to Hispanic immigration and birth rate. This paper will endeavour to look at the underlying trends of each factor separately, particularly the immigration factor.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P25-802 and P25-1095; and "Monthly estimates of the United States population: April 1, 1980, to July 1, 1999; with short-term projections to November 1, 2000"; published: 2 January 2001; http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/nation/intfile1-1.txt

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "Table DP-1 Profile of General Demographic Characteristics for the United States"; published 15 May 2001; http://www.census.gov/PressRelease/www/2001/cb01cn67.html.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the management over the admittance of immigrants was usually left to the individual colonies. These were determined by the wish to draw settlers to untamed regions or by the necessity to deny entry of unnecessary social problems (dependant foreigner). Because of this, in Virginia, laws urged immigrants by donating the "head-right" of 50 acres to each immigrant if he/she bought for their own passage or to the owner who bought their passage for them. Alternatively, rigid vagrancy regulations in other colonies barred those who could not financially sustain themselves and who might become the public's responsibility. There was also an endeavour to prohibit convicts and other deplorables whom the mother country may desire to dispatch to the provinces. After America's independence, all such fetters on immigration vanished. The federal government just regulated the prerequisites for citizenship.

In 1790, a law made naturalization accessible to immigrants after 2 years. Then, in 1798, a more strict law stretched the time needed to 14 years. Finally, in 1802, the time gap was kept to 5 years, where it stayed. The government ceded the rest up to the different states, who mainly wished to draw settlers and immigrants. These states had moderate land laws and also remitted commissions in Europe to make immigrants aware of their resources. In fact, in 1819, a law was enacted in order to protect immigrants from lying shipmasters. It incorporated minimum conditions of safety and cleanliness. Although this law was complicated to carry out, still there were really no attempts to shut out immigrants in the 1600s-1800s and in general, the presence of immigrants was believed to be another facet to America's diversity.

From 1830 to 1890, propaganda was distributed in favor of laws limiting immigration as a method of defending the American wage received. In 1875, the first limitation of immigration of prostitutes and criminals was introduced. in. 1882, the government responded to the anti-immigrant sentiment, such as anti-Chinese melees, and the U.S. enacted more limitations denying entry of the mentally unbalanced, the retarded, and people who would more than likely be a drain on public care.

The Chinese Exclusion Act suspended Chinese workers for 10 years.

In 1892, an act approved by Congress allowed for the investigation of immigrants and the not including criminals, polygamists, prostitutes, people with serious ailments, and the people likely to rely on public care. In 1917, a law was approved that increased the list of people who can be legitimately barred. It enforced a literary examination and created the Asiatic Barred Zone to deny entry to Asians. It was made current in 1918. In 1921, Congress approved a quota, which greatly affected the Asian Russia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and islands in the Pacific and Atlantic. In 1924, the law was enlarged to let in northern and western Europeans and deny entry to almost everyone else.

There are bills still in the process of being approved or dismissed that will greatly limit legal immigration in the future. For instance, there are a couple of bills that would cut legal immigration to the United States down to 20,000 or less. Under some of these proposals yet to be decided on formally, parents, adult children, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens would be restricted to 10,000 visas annually and refugees would be denied entry in all but extra-special instances. (Lee, Jonathan. & Siemborsk, Robert, 2001, 1-2)

The nation's Hispanics are becoming obviously varied as their population figures rose during the 1990s, 10 years in which rapidly-growing central and South American populations began wearing away the established population dominance of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans, new Census 2000 figures show. The range of the variation trend reached all the way into Florida, where healthy increases among Cubans, the state's major Hispanic faction, was eclipsed by exceptional growth in the population figures of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics, all of which approximately increased twofold. Florida is now a refuge for one out of about every 13 Hispanics in the United States.

Hispanics do remain condensed in a few big states. Florida, California, Texas and New York constituted two-thirds of all Hispanics countrywide. But that's dipped from 70% in 1990, demonstrating the dispersion of Hispanics throughout the United States. Mexicans are still the biggest unitary Hispanic group in the United States, constituting nearly 59% of the total, the Census Bureau analysis shows. The 53% increase in United States' Mexican population between 1990 and 2000 constituted more than half of the 13 million jump in the number of U.S. Hispanics during the 10 years. The next two largest Hispanic groups, Puerto Ricans and Cubans, also experienced robust increases. The number of Puerto excluding the 3.8 million on the island, a U.S. commonwealth), increased by 25%, Cubans by 19%. But the population of other Hispanics - primarily driven by immigration - increased much quicker, that is almost doubling to 10 million.

Hispanic immigration, high birth rates - almost half of California births are Hispanic births - and lengthier life spans contributed to Hispanic numbers to gush during the past 10 years. How has this phenomenon affected the U.S. population as a whole? The effects can be felt in three arenas, the political, the economic and the social arenas.

Politically, the Hispanic vote becomes more important as political parties jockey each other to try to edge the other out. With Hispanics making up such a large percentage of the voting population, it would be foolhardy to ignore the issues close to their heart. Unfortunately, except for Cuban Americans, Hispanics have less access to political means and power than other Americans do, maybe less than that of Blacks. Black Americans, maybe due to their longer history in the United States, have established a number of organizations (e.g. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Urban League) for investigating and protesting biased treatment. By comparison, Hispanics have fewer in-place 'protest' procedures for promoting concerns about unfair treatment, including treatment by the criminal justice system. Consequently, Hispanics have less of a voice in the criminal justice system. (Traversio, Maria., 2001, 2)

Economically, there are many beliefs circulating - that Hispanics contribute to the unemployment rates of natives, taking jobs that could have been taken by natives. However, many studies have shown that immigrants have really no adverse effect on the labor market on any natives. The influence on wages is negligible, and its influence on unemployment is seemingly non-existent. Higher immigration levels have a conservative negative influence on the salaries of the immigrants themselves and on the salaries of immigrants from earlier waves, but it has only a conservative outcome on salaries of the young black and Hispanic-Americans who are probably the next replacement. Neither the employment nor the salaries of less educated black and white natives deteriorated markedly in cities where immigrant shares of the population increased in the 1970s. On the positive side, there is some evidence that, in cities with large numbers of immigrants, employment increased more quickly or dropped more slowly in low-wage industries where immigrants tended to find employment and that less-skilled natives transferred to better jobs. The broad understanding is that immigrants have been welcomed into the American labour market with little negative effect on natives. (Cato Institute & the National Immigration Forum, 2001, 1-2)

There is also growth in business opportunities in line with the increase in the proportion of Hispanics among the U.S. population. Despite Hispanic income being characteristically low, it shows impressive growth. And as a consumer group, Hispanics have revealed exponential growth. Their unique culture conveys unique needs, giving birth to companies pushing products that satisfy those needs, allowing companies based in South America and overseas to breakā€¦