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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Connecticut Hispanic Population Over 500,000 for first time

The Census released its latest annual population estimates today that showed that the Latino population in Connecticut increased to more than 500,000 for the first time.

The Census report also showed – among other things – that for the first time, White non-Hispanic deaths are higher than White non-Hispanic births, that ethnic minorities now make up about half of the under-5 age group and that groups considered “minorities” today will be the “majority” in the U.S. as of 2043.

What is also interesting, though not unknown, is that 76 percent of the Hispanic population growth reported in this report came from “natural increase” or births minus deaths. This is in sharp contract to Asians, now the fastest growing in terms of percentage and who the Census report indicates 60 percent of population growth came from international migration.

While numerous news sites chose to cover the announcement from angles such as how White deaths outpacing White Births (New York Times) or that half of children under 5 are ethnic minorities (Associated Press) the Hartford Courant decided to remind people that cops in New London don’t ask about Hispanics’ immigration status.

The lead from the story written by Denise Buffa reads:

"In New London, town officials have instructed their police to refrain from inquiring about a suspect's immigration status and are encouraging more Latinos to get involved in education and politics."
Troubling especially in light that about 60 percent of the Hispanic population in the state in Puerto Rican and, again, that the growth is fueled by births and not immigration. Is there an undocumented population in the Constitution State? Yes, of course. But it’s somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the total population according to the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, who has worked tirelessly for Dreamers and the recent passage of legislation to allow driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

We know from studies that vast majority of non-Latino Americans have highly skewed and racist perceptions of U.S. Latinos. For example, one-third think that more than half of the country’s Latinos are undocumented and nearly 80% of non-Latino Americans think Latinos are involved in crime and gang activity.  You can also read the comments at the bottom of the Courant article.

The Hartford Courant lead and article focus unfortunately only contributes to this perception. Except for a great input from Nelson J. Rodriguez, the president of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the article blatantly omits the value this 500,000 strong population provides to the state. Better is expected from the oldest, continuously published newspaper in the United States.


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