I had perverse fun this week by asking my unsuspecting friends here in our little town of Lodi, CA, the following question:
According to the US Bureau of the Census, what percentage of Lodi's population increase of 5,125 residents between 1990 and 2000 is Latino? Chose from the following:
d) 100% or
e) over 125%"
The most popular answer is "b)—50%." And those who chose that answer did so tentatively because the figure's significance is so daunting.
Alas, the correct answer is "e)—over 125%." If you agreed with me that 50% is a corker of a number, then I'm sure you'll readily agree that 125% is staggering.
Here's the breakdown: in 2000 Lodi's population was 56,999, a net increase of 5,125 from 1990. Latinos in Lodi increased to 15,464 from 8,766 during the same period. That increase of 6,698 Latinos equals 130% of Lodi's total population growth.
The Census figures additionally show that between 1990 and 2000, Lodi's percentage of Hispanics grew from 16.9% of the total population to 27.1%.
And during the decade, the non-Hispanic white population declined.
Historically, demographic changes move at glacial speed. But in the 21st Century, with our borders wide open, we're moving at a break-neck pace.
The Census Bureau data confirms what I have been saying for the last three years: The shift in California's demographic make-up is happening so fast and is so pronounced that I can literally see it occurring each day:
If you take the 2000 Census figures and extrapolate them, "Loveable, Livable Lodi," as the town fathers love to say, will be predominantly Latino by 2040.
The trend is clear. The numbers of illegal aliens arriving in California and having their children here is overwhelming. Whether the aliens arrive by simply crossing the border or as part of some sophisticated scheme like the Wal-Mart scam, they keep coming.
Whatever estimates you hear about the illegal immigrant population in the United States are low by 20%. To quote VDARE.COM contributor John Attarian, "We are drowning in immigrants."
As an Op-ed columnist for the Lodi News-Sentinel, I am a magnet for locals who have an axe to grind. Needless to say, folks are smoking mad about Lodi's population growth and its accompanying urban sprawl and demographic transformation.
Most residents remember Lodi as an agricultural town with a folksy atmosphere. Grapes, cherries, walnuts and dairy are Lodi's core resources. But as prime agricultural land gets gobbled up to make room for super stores, strip malls and housing developments, the populace has grown increasingly uneasy.
This year, Lodi suffered through a blistering hot, dry summer with temperatures regularly reaching above 100. When I was stalled in traffic (in Lodi!) watching the swirling dust from earthmovers engulf my car, disenchantment built up fast.
To understand what is going on around them, I recommended to my frustrated Lodi friends that they read two new reports that analyze the intertwined relationships of immigration, population growth and sprawl:
I asked authors Kolankiewicz and Martin to comment about Lodi.
"These trends in Lodi parallel those of many, many other places in California, and indeed, the country as a whole. This is borne out in a recent report by the Center for Immigration Studies, which found the rising flow of immigration in the nineties becoming increasingly less diverse and ever more dominated by Latin Americans. "
"If these trends continue, then geographers and cartographers may have to re-draw their maps of the Western Hemisphere, for the region called Latin America (basically South America, Central America including Mexico, and some of the Caribbean) will have absorbed some of North America."
FAIR's Marin pointed to more recent Census Data, the Current Population Statistics report covering 2000- 2002—i.e. a period when the economy was in recession. Using figures for San Joaquin County, Martin observed that
"During the 1990s, Census Bureau data show that immigration was responsible for more than twice as many people added to the population in San Joaquin County as natives moving into the County.
"But more recent Census Bureau data show that the surge in population more than doubled since the 2000 Census, and that immigration is responsible for nearly two-thirds of the annual increase. Over this latest 2-yr. period, the largest contributor to population growth is immigration [net international migration]. It added an average of 14,641 residents to the population each year. Increase due to births was 4,810 per year, and increase from domestic migration was 3,977 persons."
The bad news, dear readers, is that no matter what state you live in, you are experiencing immigration-driven growth.
But there is good news: important voices in television and radio—Lou Dobbs, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough to name but a few—see the same thing we do. And they're yelling about it. By keeping illegal immigration high on the nation's radar, they have become the vocal champions for our cause.
Explosive as the argument about immigration is, one thing the other side never disputes is its impact on population growth.
We have logic on our side in the immigration debate. With Bush otherwise distracted by Iraq, and apparently unwilling to make any politically risky promises about amnesty, now is the hour for us to recapture America.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.