Population Research and Policy Review 21: 129–134, 2002.
© 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Comment on “Hispanic Population 1990–2000: Growth and
Change”, Population Research and Policy Review, Special Issue on
the 2000 Census
KAREN A. WOODROW-LAFIELD
Mississippi State University
Snapshots from censuses capture the panarama of a population’s changes in
demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Censuses have historically
compensated for serious gaps in statistical systems, especially valuable with
tens of millions of migrants in a world on the move (Stalker 2000). Because
the emergent Hispanic population grew quickly from slightly more than two
million in 1950 to 35 million in 2000, the U.S. population proﬁles of 1950,
2000, and 2050 are different on ethnic and racial dimensions (Hollmann et al.
The ﬁndings reported about growth of Hispanics over 1990–2000 imply
revisions to national population projections by race and Hispanic origin in
late 2002. Already, the United States is projected as the lone developed nation
among the top twenty countries by 2050, principally from immigration from
developing nations, especially Latin American ones (United Nations 2001).
Setting aside the myriad implications of this migration for foreign policy and
international relations, social scientists and policymakers are pursuing vari-
ous domestic implications for societal institutions and, since 11 September
2001, are renewing interest in authorization status and border security.
Contemplating the demographic and social processes and mysteries un-
derlying the contemporary Hispanic population, demographers are intrigued
by the classical questions of changing composition and changing propensity.
Which bears more important signals for the future population? Key questions
are whether recent Hispanic immigrants’ makeup by county differs from
that of immigrants of the 1970s and 1980s, and the degree to which such
differences might account for Hispanics’ change on assimilation measures.
Hispanics or Latinos are highly differentiated on nativity and socioeconomic
characteristics, as well as on temporal variables of age, duration of resid-
ence, and age at immigration, that may affect outcomes such as occupational
mobility (Myers and Cranford 1998). Furthermore, in which ways are insti-
tutions inﬂuential for immigrant experiences and, are there differences for
geographic settings, certain origins, or entry cohorts? Hispanic growth in