US population grew by slightly less than 1 percent from 2003 to 2004, according to new Census Bureau figures. In both 2003 and 2004, annual US population growth was slower than it was from 1990 to 2002, when the annual rate averaged more than 1.2 percent. (In the big scheme of things, 1 percent may not sound like much, but it’s enough to double the population every 70 years. If the US continues to grow at 1 percent per year, the country will number almost 600 million people by 2076.)
But none of that stuff made headlines as did the news that Hispanics comprised half of the nation’s growth. People who identify themselves as being of Hispanic origin now make up about 14 percent of US residents—about one in seven.
The Northwest states have a substantially smaller share of Hispanic residents than the rest of the country. According to the 2000 Census, Hispanics make up 7.5% of Washington, 8% of Oregon, and 7.9% of Idaho. New state-level figures will be released soon.