- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) — The number of Latinos in the United States has exceeded the number of African-Americans, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.

The number of Hispanics or Latinos of any race stood at 37 million on July 1, 2001.

The federal government regards Hispanic as an ethnicity rather than a race so those identifying themselves as Hispanics can be of any race.

The number of African-Americans stands at 36.2 million.

Tuesday's estimates are the first released by the U.S. Commerce Department's Census Bureau since 2000.

The number of Hispanics on April 1, 2001, when the figures were previously released, stood at 37.3 million. Tuesday's figures are a 4.7 percent increase.

During the same period, African-Americans went from 37.1 million to 37.7 million, a 1.7 percent increase.

Hispanics now make up almost 13 percent of the U.S. population, which increased to 284.8 million, the bureau said. In April 2000, they constituted 12.5 percent of the 281.4 million people in the country.

Blacks, on the other hand, grew to 12.7 percent of the population from 12.6 percent in April 2000.

The number of whites, the country's largest population group, stood at 196.2 million in July 2001, up from 195.6 million in April 2000.

Asians follow blacks and Hispanics as the next largest minority group with 11 million people, up from 10.6 million.

The 2000 census allowed respondents to check off on more than one racial category.

The Census Bureau's figures can be accessed at: census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-16.html.

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