A Charlotte Observer story (Registration required) reports that the Carolinas and four other Southern states have become the "new settlement areas" for still-surging waves of Latinos- most of them young (median age 27), male (63%), foreign-born (57%) and drawn, like many native-born whites and blacks, by the region's robust economy. The Charlotte Observer cites the results of a recently released report by the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center, "The New Latino South"
Besides North Carolina and South Carolina -- states where Latino populations grew by 394 percent and 211 percent, respectively, in the 1990s -- the report also identifies Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama as places newly and rapidly settled by Latinos. The report distinguishes these Southern states from Texas and Florida, the home of large and long-established Hispanic communities.
Relying mostly on U.S. Census numbers, the center's report pays special attention to North Carolina -- the state with the country's fastest-growing Latino population in the 1990s -- and to the Charlotte area. Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, the report's authors say, offer examples of economies that are magnets for the young men, most Mexican, looking for better-paying jobs