According to the first details of the 2000 Census, the number of Americans who described themselves as Hispanic grew by nearly 60% since the last census, and now totals 35.3 million, roughly 3 million more than the Census Bureau had predicted, the Post reported. Hispanics now constitute 12.6% of the total of 281 million inhabitants of the United States.
The unexpected increase in Hispanics is probably due mainly to high levels of immigration and poor counting in the past, the Post said.
The black population ranged from 34.7 million to 36.4 million, with the larger number including those who checked black and another race, in census forms, the Post said.
The U.S. bishops´ conference estimates that at least 70% of Hispanics are Catholic. The United States is now the third largest country in terms of Catholics, after Brazil and Mexico. Hispanics constitute about 35% of U.S. Catholics, who number more than 60 million.