With CNN due to premiere its Latinos in America special on October 21st and 22nd, and National Hispanic Heritage Month having just drawn to a close, it is well worth considering the extent to which the immigrant experience is part of daily life in the United States for both Latinos and non-Latinos. As the IPC details in a new Fact Check, American Roots in the Immigrant Experience, data released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau illustrates both the breadth and depth of America’s immigrant roots.
The Census data reveals that the experience of immigration is deeply embedded in the social and political fabric of the United States in three important ways:
- Nearly one quarter (23.4%) of the U.S. population in 2008 consisted of either immigrants or the children of immigrants. Two out of every three Latinos (67.9%), and one out of every ten non-Latino whites (10.4%), was an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.
- One out of every twenty people in the United States in 2008 was an immigrant who had become a naturalized U.S. citizen, and is therefore entitled to vote.
- Two-in-five immigrants came to this country before 1990 and therefore have deep roots in the United States. More than one-third of Latino immigrants came to the United States prior to 1990.
These statistics have enormous political implications. Latinos are the fastest-growing group of voters in the United States. The number of naturalized U.S. citizens is increasing rapidly. And the electoral power of “New American” voters who have a direct, personal connection to the immigrant experience as either naturalized citizens or the U.S.-born children of immigrants is on the rise. These are demographic trends sure to catch the eye of politicians who want to actually win elections.
Photo by ClatieK.