The Census Bureau has a new website called American FactFinder with massive databases of census and demographic info with tools that provide a variety of ways to view it. There is also a new 2005 American Community Survey with data snapshots down to the community level:

Data from the 2005 ACS are available for geographic areas with a population of 65,000 or more, including 761 counties, 436 congressional districts, 602 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia.

A 2005 ACS Data Profile Highlights Fact Sheet provides an easy way to view selected data at the U.S., state, and community level and compare it to the 2000 Census data. Poking around in this data for a few minutes revealed some interesting statistics about the changing demographics of the South.

For example, while Florida has the highest percentage of Hispanic population at nearly 20%, Arkansas had the highest increase in Hispanic population from 2000 (3.2%) to 2005 (4.7%), an increase of 47% in the Hispanic makeup of the overall population. The 46% increase in actual numbers of Hispanics (86,866 to 126,932) tracks with the increase in percentage of population. Drilling further down, we see that the majority of those (93,073) are Mexican.

Meanwhile, Florida's 19.6% Hispanic/Latino population is made up mostly of Puerto Ricans and Cubans. The percentage of Florida's Hispanic population increased from 16.8% to 19.6% from 2000 to 2005, a 16.7% increase in the percentage. But in terms of total numbers (2,682,715 to 3,414,414), Florida's Hispanic population increased by 27%. An increase in the percentage of Black and other minorities reduced the effect of the 27% increase.

On the other hand, while the Black population in the South is growing in numbers, the percentage of Black population as compared to the total has declined overall, presumably because of the increase in Hispanic and other minority population. The percentage of Black population decreased in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, increased in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, and stayed the same in Louisiana and Tennessee. (The figures for Louisiana seem off, but perhaps the data was collected before Katrina.)

So what we are seeing is an overall increase in Hispanic population across the South and a higher percentage of Hispanic population as compared to the total, while at the same time Black and white as a percentage of total population is decreasing.

Another interesting trend is that the percentage of population with at least a bachelor's degree increased across the board, with South Carolina scoring the biggest increase from 20.4% in 2000 to 27.2% in 2005.

But, poverty also increased across the board. Poverty went up the most in Tennessee, where the percentage of people living in poverty increased from 13.5% in 2000 to 15.5% in 2005. Mississippi had the highest rate of poverty at 19.9%, followed closely by Louisiana at 19.8%.

Here are the Southern state rankings in each of the categories:

Percentage of Black population (2005):

Mississippi 36.5%
Louisiana 32.5%
Georgia 29.2%
South Carolina 28.5%
Alabama 25.8%
North Carolina 21.0%
Virginia 19.1%
Tennessee 16.4%
Arkansas 15.3%
Florida 15.0%
Kentucky 7.2%
West Virginia 3.1%

Percentage of Hispanic/Latino population (2005):

Florida 19.6%
Georgia 7.1%
North Carolina 6.3%
Virginia 6.0%
Arkansas 4.7%
South Carolina 3.3%
Tennessee 3.0%
Louisiana 2.8%
Alabama 2.2%
Kentucky 1.7%
Mississippi 1.5%
West Virginia 0.6%

Percentage of college educated population (2005):

Virginia 33.2%
South Carolina 27.2%
Georgia 27.1%
Florida 25.1%
North Carolina 25.1%
Tennessee 21.8%
Alabama 21.4%
Louisiana 20.6%
Kentucky 19.3%
Arkansas 18.9%
Mississippi 18.7%
West Virginia 16.9%

Percentage of population living in poverty (2005):

Mississippi 21.3%
Louisiana 19.8%
West Virginia 18.0%
Arkansas 17.2%
Alabama 17.0%
Kentucky 16.8%
South Carolina 15.6%
Tennessee 15.5%
Georgia 14.4%
North Carolina 13.3%
Florida 12.8%
Virginia 10.0%