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The Los Angeles Times reports that US census figures suggest that one of every seven Americans is of Latino heritage, with the US Latino population reaching 41.3 million.

The most recent surge in the Latino population represents “half of the country's population growth of 2.9 million between July 2003 and July 2004, census figures show,” according to the LAT. “The Latino population grew at a rate of 3.6% compared with an overall population increase of 1%, according to the new census report…”

Next in line in terms of population growth were Asians, South Asians (who come from countries such as India and Pakistan), Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and blacks.

The Times notes that “of the 41.3 million Latinos, 14 million, or roughly a third, are under age 18. These young Latinos pose myriad problems for the nation's already overcrowded schools and overburdened government agencies, some demographic experts said.”
KC's View:
Clearly, they also offer both challenge and opportunity to food retailers and manufacturers, who have to balance the desire for acculturation with a growing need for ethnic products.