A new report from the U.S. Census is showing that Hispanic children now constitute a fifth of all K-12 students. It appears the trend is set to accelerate, because the younger the grade level, the higher the percentage.
Nearly a quarter of all the nation's kindergarten students are Hispanic, more than triple the rate during the 1970s, the Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, the 2007 data shows that nursery schools serving 4-year-old children are posting an even higher proportion: 53 percent, up from 21 percent in 1987, according to the report, which was released Thursday.
Colleges are still enrolling the lowest proportion of Hispanic students of all the grade levels -- 12 percent -- although that figure grew from 10 percent in 2006.
At 15 percent of the U.S. population, Hispanics are the nation's largest minority group.
The report shows that the proportion of minorities in schools – as well as in the entire nation -- is growing at an even faster rate than previously projected, partly because white births are down.
Minorities are projected to be the majority in schools by 2023, seven years earlier than was estimated in 2004. They are projected to become the majority nationwide by 2042.
Hispanics have the biggest presence in the western states, where minority K-12 students outnumber whites. Hispanics constitute about 54 percent of the student population in New Mexico, 47 percent in California, 44 percent in Texas and 40 percent in Arizona, according to the Associated Press.
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