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Pew: Latino Population Growth, Dispersion in U.S. is Slowing

by Suzanne Gamboa /
Erika Jaramillo, center, and others hold signs supporting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a Democratic National Convention watch party in San Antonio on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. In Texas, where 39 percent of the population is Hispanic, Democrats have been shut out of statewide elections for decades. During 2014???s midterm elections, fewer than 2.3 million Texas Hispanics reported being registered to vote, or about 46 percent of the nearly 4.9 million who were eligible, according to U.S. Census Bureau surveys. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)Eric Gay / AP

Given the rhetoric of Donald Trump’s election campaign, it may surprise some Americans that Latino population growth in the U.S. is slowing down.

A new study by Pew Research Center reports that since the 2007 Great Recession, immigration from Latin America has slowed and fertility rates of Latinos have fallen. There’s also a slowdown of Latinos settling in places they have not traditionally settled.

The slowdown contradicts images perpetuated by some, including those in the camp of GOP nominee Donald Trump, of Latinos taking over the United States. The data also raises questions about whether the expanding political influence of Latinos will be as strong as some have projected.

Just last week, the founder of Latinos for Trump, Marco Gutierrez, told MSNBC's Joy-Ann Reid that unchecked immigration from Mexico would lead to "a taco truck on every corner."

According to Pew, the average annual growth of the Hispanic population in the U.S. from 2007 to 2014 was 2.8 percent, a drop from the 2000-2007 growth rate of 4.4 percent and from 5.8 percent annually in the 1990s.

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The growth has fallen for two reasons:

  • Immigration has slowed since the 2000s, including a net loss in Mexican immigration.
  • Birth of Hispanic women ages 15 to 44 peaked at 98.3 per 1,000 women in 2006. But birth rates have fallen since the onset of the 2007 Great Recession and were at 72.1 births per 1,000 for the same age group in 2014.

While Hispanics are settling in non-traditional places, that too has slowed since 2007, Pew said.

The share of U.S. counties with at least 1,000 Hispanics rose to 46 percent in 2007 from 38 percent in 2000, an 8-point rise. But in 2014, the increase share of such counties was 50 percent, a 4-point change from 2007.

Latino population growth in states like North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia has played a part in putting some the states in play as battleground states in the 2016 presidential election. But the electoral influence of Latinos may not expand as some have hoped with the population and slowdown in dispersion of Latinos.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Counties in the Northeast U.S. made up a higher share of the growth of the Latino population from 2007 to 2014.
  • The top three counties with the highest Hispanic population growth rates between 2007 and 2014 were in North Dakota.
  • In 2014, 38 counties with at least 1,000 Hispanics saw their Hispanic populations decline between 2007 and 2014, including several in New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
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