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January 23, 2003
Hispanic Population Grows at Fastest Rate
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t released U.S. Census Bureau figures show that the Hispanic population was growing in 2001 at a greater clip than any other group in the United States and Hispanics could become the largest minority group soon, USA Today reports.

Measured from April 2000 to July 2001, the census found that 37 million people said they were Hispanic – a 4.7 percent increase.

The black population – including people who also identify as Hispanic – rose to 37.7 million, a 1.7 percent increase.

Some media reports have said that the Hispanic population has surpassed the black population as the largest minority group. USA Today notes that those reports tally black Hispanics as Hispanic but not black.

Respondents could check off more than one racial category for the census. There was also a separate question that asked whether a person was Hispanic. The Census Bureau counts Hispanic as an ethnicity.

If Hispanics haven't passed blacks as the largest minority group already, they are expected to do so soon, demographers tell USA Today.

“''I'd say in two to three years down the road, the number of Hispanics will be clearly larger,” says William Frey, a demographer at the University of Michigan and the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, Calif.

The overall white population increased 1 percent to 233.8 million, according to the Census Bureau. The Asian population grew to 12.5 million, an increase of 3.8 percent, from April 2000 to July 2001.

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