The Tennessean and the Nashville Post report the findings of a study that predicts that in 2011 the seven-county Middle Tennessee region will have a total area population of 2,631,394, with a Hispanic population of 149,475, or 5.8%. Nationally, Hispanics currently represent about 11-12% of the population.
The expected Hispanic population figure represents a gain for Middle Tennessee and is the third highest proportional gain in the study, behind Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.
Much of the gain is from first, second, and third generation Hispanic U.S. citizens, whose parents and grandparents were immigrants (stories here and here). To the extent that the gain is attributed to new immigrants, however, the hospitality and agricultural industries should prosper in the region. They have both expressed concern recently about labor shortages related to immigrant restrictions (stories in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook here and here).
Expect the growth figure to fuel political strategies in Tennessee that use immigration as a weapon (story here). Political discord is one of many factors that can prevent Hispanics from becoming integrated into the Southern culture (story here), and an unwelcome social culture can contribute to a minority exodus (story here).
For previously published population statistics related to Tennessee, Nashville, and the Hispanic community, read these stories in the archives of the Hispanic Nashville Notebook: