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Hispanics in the U.S.: Breaking Down the Numbers

Hispanics are expected to total 18 percent of the U.S. population by 2020.
Geoff Gaudreault, NPR / Pew Hispanic Center projections based on U.S. Census data
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Pew Hispanic Center projections based on U.S. Census data
Hispanics are expected to total 18 percent of the U.S. population by 2020.

Hispanics accounted for half of the 2.9 million U.S. population growth between 2003 and 2004, according to new data from the Census Bureau. The Hispanic population, which can include any race, jumped 3.6 percent in the year ended July 1, 2004 -- more than three times that of the total population, which grew 1.0 percent, and more than four times the 0.8 percent growth for whites.

The latest numbers put the Hispanic population in the U.S. at about 41.3 million, or about 14.1 percent of the total. One-in-five kids under the age of five is now Hispanic.

Robert Siegel talks with Jeffrey Passel, senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, about the new census data.

In past years, Hispanic population growth has been due to immigration, but last year was the first in which Hispanic births outnumbered immigrants. Passel says that's due to a large population of Hispanic women in the their 20s and 30s. "Even moderately high levels of fertility translate into large numbers of births," he says.

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Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.