Photo: Hispanics expected to account for majority of population increase in the US over next four Decades
Experts from the Pew Hispanic Center say that Hispanics will account for the majority of the U.S. population’s increase over the next four decades, and will need at least a generation or two to reach the same education level.
Assistant director of research at Pew, Rakesh Kochhar, cited U.S. Census data and Pew statistics when he spoke of the future Hispanic majority at the annual convention of the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The Census data from 2010 indicates that since 2000, there has been a 43 percent increase in the number of Hispanics in the U.S., jumping to 50.5 million – 1.5 million more than anticipated.
Kochhar told the Utah convention that “Utah is one of the states in which the Hispanic community has grown more rapidly, at a rate of 78 percent during the last decade.” Adding that the state, “along with the rest of the nation, will be increasingly more Hispanic in the future.”
He believes there is cause for concern however, as the data suggests that the education levels of Hispanics are not keeping up with the growth increase, despite the increase in the number of U.S.-born children of immigrants attending U.S. schools speaking fluent English and going to college.
“For now, although more Latinos go to the centers of higher education, there is still a gap present due to the fact that some are not setting high expectations, the numbers of school dropouts are high, and they are subject to economic pressures,” he said. “Minorities suffer in these situations because many have to work to maintain their families, but for following generations, things will be different.”
Despite the caution expressed, Kochhar believes “the future of the labor force is in the hands of immigrants,” and suggests they could be the key to economic recovery in America.”
An increase is education levels is necessary, he cites, but with that education, Hispanics will gain a stronger presence in the government and “will be able to have their voice here.”