*Hispanics now outnumber African-Americans for the first time in most U.S. metropolitan areas, shifting the political and racial dynamics in cities once dominated by whites and blacks.
Census figures released Thursday highlight the growing diversity of the nation’s 366 metro areas, which were home to a record 83.7 percent share of the U.S. population. The numbers from the 2010 count are already having a big effect on redistricting in many states, where district boundary lines are being redrawn based on population size and racial makeup.
Hispanics became the largest minority group in 191 metropolitan areas last year, their population lifted higher as blacks left many economically hard-hit cities in the North for the South and new Latino immigrants spread to different parts of the country. That’s up from 159 metro areas when the previous Census was taken in 2000, when Hispanics were most commonly found in Southwest border states.
The new metro areas include Chicago; Grand Rapids, Mich. and Atlantic City, N.J., whose states will lose U.S. House seats in the 2012 elections. Other places seeing rapid Hispanic gains compared to blacks were Lakeland, Fla.; Madison, Wis.; Oklahoma City and Omaha, Neb., due to the mid-decade housing boom that attracted many new immigrants seeking work in the construction and service industries.
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