U.S. Hispanic growth rate hits new low

The Hispanic population of the U.S. is experiencing its lowest rate of growth since official records began half a century ago, according to a new report that was released yesterday.

Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, the Hispanic population grew at an average rate of over 5% and was responsible for most of the nation’s population growth. However, a new Pew Research Center report has revealed the growth rate began to fall in 2007 because of the recession and has continued to decrease, reaching a new low of 2.1% as of 2014. The co-author of the report, Pew director of Hispanic research Mark Hugo Lopez, says the fall is the result of lower levels of both legal and illegal immigration to the U.S. and a lower birth rate in the Hispanic population.

The report comes at a time when the role of Hispanics in the U.S. and the issue of immigration, in general, continues to loom large in the upcoming presidential election. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been trying to extend her appeal to Hispanic voters by pledging to protect many undocumented immigrants from being deported, while Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made slowing legal immigration and putting a halt to illegal immigration the central focus of his campaign.

Lopez says Hispanics still accounted for as much as 54% of the country’s population growth since 2000, but with fewer arrivals and more settling into established Hispanic communities, Hispanics are not moving throughout the country as widely as was once the case.