A few weeks ago, Carol Ann posted a graph of the Hispanic population in the U.S. in 1980 and 2000. Courtesy of Cliff Grammich with the Religious Congregations and Membership Study, we now have a graph showing Hispanic population growth from 2000 to 2010.
This demographic has increased in every state during the latest 10 year period. Importantly, the smallest percentage growth has occurred in the states that had the LARGEST Hispanic population in 2000. Because we are measuring percentage change, starting from a larger base requires much larger numbers to get to 50% plus…so, basically, this graph is highlighting how Hispanic growth has occurred across the entire U.S. from 2000 to 2010–even in areas that had previously not seen such immigration previously. Interestingly, high growth has occurred in states and places (like the old south) where Catholics have historically been small in number–so Hispanic growth is helping to spread Catholicism into new areas in the U.S. As a result, Hispanic Catholics are likely experiencing some unique circumstances as their growth occurred in areas with smaller Catholic and Hispanic populations. More food for thought regarding shifts in the demographics of the U.S. and of Catholicism in the U.S.
I will also take the time to mention that the RCMS 2010 data is set to be released this spring. It will be worth exploring where parish/congregational growth and decline has occurred over the 2000-2010 period. Especially for Catholics, we know that the number of parishes has been declining but this will allow us to compare and contrast institutional decline with actual growth in population/membership.
Thanks, Cliff, for the graph, and I hope to hear more about the RCMS results later this spring– perhaps we’ll even receive a guest post on “The Catholic Conversation.”