WASHINGTON (MNS) — The Hispanic population increased by about 58 percent nationwide over the last decade and now nearly equals the population of non-Hispanic blacks, Census Bureau figures released Monday showed.
The number of individuals identifying themselves as Hispanic grew to 35.3 million, or 13 percent of the population, in 2000 from 22.4 million in 1990. The non-Hispanic black population in 2000 was slightly higher at 36.4 million.
The survey showed the complex diversity of the nation's population. For the first time, people were able to identify themselves as belonging to more than one race, and 2.4 percent, or nearly 7 million Americans, chose that option. A separate question asked whether respondents were of Hispanic origin, which is considered an ethnicity rather than a race.
"Certainly within the last 40 or 50 years, there is probably more diversity now than ever before," said Jorge del Pinal of the Census Bureau.