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Census Data Shows America Quickly Looking More Hispanic

People participate in 'A Day Without Immigrants' rally, May 1, 2006 at the Civic Center Plaza in Tulsa, Okla., where according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Tulsa had a 97 percent increase in Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010, while the suburb of Owasso

The Hispanic population in the United States is growing at a faster pace than officials expected, rapidly changing the way America looks.

Data released Thursday from the 2010 Census shows the U.S. Hispanic population has grown to 50.5 million, meaning about one in six people in the U.S. is Hispanic.

The data also found the Hispanic population grew by more than 40 percent between 2000 and 2010, and accounts for more than half of the country's total population increase during that time.

Hispanics were already the country's largest minority, but the new data shows the Hispanic population is spreading out across the country. Census data finds the Hispanic population surpassed estimates in 40 of the 50 U.S. states, making the biggest jumps in southern states that have not traditionally had large Hispanic communities, including Alabama and North Carolina.

African-Americans remain the second-largest minority in the United States, while the data shows the Asian population grew at the fastest pace of any group in the U.S.

Non-Hispanic whites have made up the majority of the U.S. population. Estimates show that group becoming a minority in about three decades.

In some states, non-Hispanic whites already are a minority, with the southern state of Texas becoming the latest to join the list.

As of the 2000 Census, California, Washington, D.C., Hawaii and New Mexico already had populations where more than 50 percent of the people were part of a minority group

The new Census Bureau findings have significant political implications. In the coming months, U.S. states will be using the population data to redraw political districts.

The changes will have a direct impact on the House of Representatives, where the number of seats allocated to each state is determined by the size of its population.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.