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The Latino Baby Boom, in Chicago and the U.S.

A surge in Latino births produced a tremendous shift in the demographics of Chicago toddlers, portending substantial policy and political changes to come.

Child ethnicity demographics Chicago

 

The Trib reports that the number of Latinos in Chicago is up (not surprisingly), driven by a surge in Latino toddlers (perhaps more surprisingly): “In Chicago, more than 40 percent of children younger than 5 are Latino.” It’s a pretty remarkable statistic, given that the city is 26 percent Latino overall. The article includes awesome maps, including a dot map of the city’s under-five population from Chris Groskopf and Brian Boyer, which shows how dramatic the population shift is.

And this tracks with nationwide trends. According to a Pew analysis of Census data, immigration from Mexico declined from the ’90s to the ’00s, but births among Mexican-Americans surged (Mexicans != all Latinos, of course, but they do make up the majority of American Latinos, including within Chicago):

Hispanic population trends

In short, there was a big surge in Mexican immigrants between the ’80s and the ’90s. That tailed off, but led to a subsequent surge in second-generation Americans.

The Pew Hispanic Center has been producing some interesting stats; the most interesting to me was this one:

Hispanic national leaders

An impressive showing by my ten-term House rep, but obviously the job’s available. The political ramifications of this shift are going to be fascinating.

Gutierrez has increased his prominence with his work on immigration, including getting busted last month in a White House protest over the DREAM act; after his arrest, Gutierrez made his case in The Guardian.

Illinois, of course, recently passed its own DREAM act; WBEZ’s Achy Obejas explains exactly what it does. It’s not as much as you might think, but it’s meant to serve a college-age population that’s ballooning. William Frey’s report for the Brookings Institution takes a different look at the numbers, which makes it clear just to what degree Latino children are the nation’s future:

US Census change in child ethnicity

 

Map: Chicago Tribune

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