The Latino South

In what is being called the first state-by-state breakdown of Latino birth rates in the country, the National Center for Health Statistics has new statistics showing how dramatically the South is being changed by new immigrants. Here's how a story from the Associated Press begins:

Hispanic births are skyrocketing in the Southeast, where an increase of at least 40 percent was recorded in five states between 2000 and 2003, according to a new government report.

Among the states with the largest increases were Kentucky (80 percent), South Carolina (62 percent), Alabama (53 percent), Tennessee (53 percent) and Arkansas (40 percent), the report found.

Georgia and North Carolina were singled out as the two states with "the highest fertility rates for Mexican mothers."

Although they still have a long way to go before catching up with California, Florida and Texas, high birthrates and a steady immigration stream make GA and NC the states with the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country, with major implications for public services, politics and other trends.