Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Booming Population of Latinos in Southeast Heralds a Demographic Wave for the Region's Colleges
By DEVIN VARSALONA
The Hispanic population is growing faster in the Southeast than in any other region of the country, and the impact on some aspects of public policy, including higher education, has yet to be felt, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.
The report, "The New Latino South," focuses on six Southern states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee -- that experienced tremendous Hispanic population growth from 1990 to 2000, exceeding 1,000 percent in some counties. Following an economic boom in the region, the report says, young, foreign-born Hispanic men immigrated largely to those six states. During the 1990s, the region's population of Hispanic children of school age -- many of whom did not speak English -- grew by more than 320 percent.
By 2007, the report says, those children are likely to make up 10 percent of students in the Southeast's public schools.
That demographic wave will hit colleges and universities in the region soon thereafter.
A representative of the Pew Hispanic Center said the group was unable to comment on the potential impact on higher education of the trends described in its report. But in a special report in 2003, The Chronicle noted that Latinos "remain severely underrepresented and underserved in higher education" -- a pattern that the demographic changes seem likely to exacerbate.