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January 2003, Volume 9, Number 1


Hispanics are the largest US minority group. In July 2001, there were 37 million Hispanics and 36 million Blacks, plus 196 million non-Hispanic whites. Over half of Latinos are in Texas, California and New York, and a quarter of Hispanics are non-US citizens.

In 2000, most US whites, 54 percent, lived in suburban areas, compared to 41 percent of nonwhites. There were slightly more non-Hispanic whites in nonmetro areas than in cities, 23.3 percent compared to 22.6 percent. Only 12 percent of nonwhites were in nonmetro areas, while 47 percent were in cities.

Hispanics represent 40 percent of the 65 million US Catholics, and have accounted for over 70 percent of the growth in the Catholic church in the past decade. In 20 percent of US Catholic parishes, Hispanics are a majority of parishioners. About 25 percent of US Hispanic Catholics are in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami.

The US admitted 66 million immigrants between 1820 and 2000, including 47 million - 71 percent - in the 20th century. In 2000, there were 31 million foreign-born US residents; they were 11 percent of US residents. Most of today's immigrants are recent arrivals: 40 percent of the foreign-born in 2000 entered in the 1990s, and 70 percent entered since 1980. About a fifth of the babies born in 2000 had a foreign-born mother.

Bill Gates predicted in a 1995 book, The Road Ahead, that the internet would stabilize the population of remote rural areas. He spent $250 million to --- place computer terminals in rural US libraries; about 95 percent of US public libraries offer free Internet access. Gates said he thought "digital technology would eventually reverse urbanization." The Gates Foundation, which funded the library project, has $24 billion in assets, more than any other US foundation.

In 2000, the 35 million Hispanics in the U.S. included 13 million adult US citizens, and six million of them voted, accounting for about five percent of US votes cast. Latinos cast 13 to 14 percent of the vote in California in 1998 and 2000, but only 10 percent of the vote in 2002, while non-Hispanic whites cast 75 percent of the vote. Latino turnout dropped along with overall turnout in the state- only 48 percent of registered voters voted. In Texas, which also has one-third Hispanic residents, Hispanics cast 20 percent of the vote.

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