Latino population surges even as immigration on decline

While the population of U.S.-born Latinos continues to surge, the Latino immigrant population is falling, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Immigration was the main driver of Latino growth in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. But things changed in the 2000s as those earlier arrivers started having kids.

U.S.-born Latinos accounted for 60 percent of the Latino population growth between 2000 and 2010, according to Pew.

Latinos are the nation’s largest minority and one of the fastest growing populations. More than 53 million Latinos live in the country. The U.S. Census projects it will grow to 129 million people by 2060.

The growth is fastest in the South. The five fastest growing Latino populations are Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota.

The authors attribute the decline in foreign-born population to the decline of Mexican migration. After decades of explosive growth, many Mexican immigrants are leaving the country. The lack of jobs due to the recession, greater border enforcement and increased dangers of crossing the border has led as many Mexicans to leave the country as those arriving, according to the study.