While Latino families looking for new work and better housing ventured far from traditional Latino enclaves during the early 2000s, the recession at the end of the last decade has a lot of them coming back home to Los Angeles and its suburbs, according to a 2010 U.S. Census analysis released today by the Brookings Institution.
The report shows that Latino growth in much of the country accelerated during the 2000s as families were willing to try out new communities in the South and Midwest.
Latinos fed up with Los Angeles living were likely a major contributor to the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region making the nation’s list of top 10 population-declining areas from 2004 t0 2007.
Meanwhile, communities in Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina and Iowa saw massive increases in their Latino populations during the first part of the decade, according to data crunched by Brookings demographer William Frey.
While growth rates in some communities hit 10 percent per year in the middle of the decade, those rates slowed to a crawl the last three years of the decade, the study found. The study also found that many families during the end of the decade gave up on the far-flung exurbs, which in our area would be places like Rialto and Fontana.
The slowing of growth in other parts of the country at the end of the decade corresponded with increasing Latino populations in big metro areas, such as New York and Chicago.
Locally, Downey’s overall population jumped from 107,323 residents in 2000 to more than 111,772 residents in 2010, an increase of 4.1 percent, slightly outpacing the county’s growth rate of 3.7. And Downey’s Latino population continued to surge. About 17,00o Latinos moved to Downey from 2000 to 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Latinos now make up about 71 percent of the city’s population.
In general, dense Latino communities to the north and west of Downey saw populations declines while communities to the north and south saw increases.
Neighboring South Gate and Bell Gardens each shed 2,000 residents during the 2000s. Bell’s population declined by 1,000. Pico Rivera lost 5oo residents. Lynwood a also saw small populations declines.
Norwalk, Bellflower and Santa Fe Springs saw population increases.
Frey, the author of the study, guessed that Latino families would once again find a way to leave the urban centers and fill in the rest of the country.
“A significant aspect of the 2000-2010 dynamic is the metropolitan dispersion—and then retrenchment—
of the Hispanic population, an increasingly important driver of national population growth.
While the 2000s were clearly marked by the growth and movement of Hispanics to new “new destinations”
and the suburbs, both of these growth patterns scaled back considerably in the last three years
of the decade. Because both high-skilled and low-skilled Hispanic workers will be important components
of metropolitan growth in the future, it is important to find ways to continue their dispersal to
unfamiliar communities when the economy revives.”