Elementary school classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse.
The number of states where Latino children make up at least 20 percent of kindergartners has more than doubled since 2000, according to a new post from the Pew Research Center.
And immigration isn’t contributing to that increase. The center found that the number of Hispanic immigrants has remained steady for the past four years. The Hispanic birth rate, however, has increased.
Fourteen years ago, Hispanic students represented one in five kindergartners in only eight states. That number has since expanded to 17 states.
Whereas states such as California, Texas, Arizona and Florida have long had sizeable Latino student populations, it’s also now true for Northeastern states including New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. The percentage of Latino kindergartners has also increased in the Northwest; Latino kindergartners now represent at least 20 percent of kindergarten students in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The same goes for Kansas and Nebraska in the middle of the country.
States Where 20 percent or more of kindergartners are Hispanic:
Graphic by Fusion; Source: Pew Research Center
The nation’s 54 million Hispanics are spreading out across the country in greater numbers than ever before. The days where Latino populations were concentrated in certain pockets across the country are over.
Latinos also tend to be younger than the rest of the population, due mostly to higher birth rates. A record one in four babies born in 2012 was Hispanic.
Minority students are projected to make up more than half of public school students nationwide by the end of year — and that growth rate is expected to continue.
Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.