Monday, March 21, 2011

Why the slow Hispanic growth in Nashville MSA, asks 2010 Census researcher

Tennessean editorial page editor Dwight Lewis is asking his readers a question about the 2010 Census and Hispanic numbers in Middle Tennessee. The question is not, why did the Hispanic population in Nashville grow to 10%; the question is, why was the Hispanic growth in the broader metropolitan area relatively low, when compared to other cities?

Lewis recently spoke with Director John R. Logan of the US2010 Census Project, an academic research program on modern changes in American society. Even though Lewis was doing the interview, Logan asked Lewis a striking question:
"Why isn't the Nashville area more appealing to Hispanics and Asians?"
I'm not sure I'm reading Logan's numbers correctly or understanding his question. The Census numbers show that the Nashville MSA* was 6.6% Hispanic in 2010, up from 3.1% in 2000 - a jump of over 100%. Is Logan simply comparing the 10% Nashville number to the 6.6% Nashville MSA number? Or is a 100% jump small?

What do you think about Logan's question, and how would you answer it? Respond in the comments here, in the comments over at Lewis' column, or by e-mail to Lewis at

*In this study, the Nashville MSA is defined as the Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all or portions of these counties: Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.

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