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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 21:35 GMT 22:35 UK
Minorities rise in most US states
Two Hispanic farmers work the field in Idaho (archive picture)
Immigrants and Hispanics no longer just work in agriculture
Minority groups make up an increasing share of the population in almost every US state, according to figures released by the US Census Bureau.

Legal and illegal immigrants make up a growing portion of the population in 46 states and the District of Columbia, with California leading the field.

There are more than 35 million immigrants in the US - or 12.4% of the population, up from 11.1% in 2001.

Immigration is a big issue ahead of the autumn's mid-term congressional polls.

California had the most born outside of the US at 27.2% of its population.

It was followed by New York, Texas and Florida as the states with the nation's largest immigrant populations.

According to the American Community Survey, more than one in three residents living in Los Angeles (40.3%), San Jose (37.9%) and New York (36.6%) were not US citizens at birth.

Immigrants make up 12.4% of US population
California has largest migrant population with 27.2%
Hispanics increased as US largest minority group, at 14.4% of the population

Detroit (6.3%) and Indianapolis (6.7%) were large cities where the proportion of immigrants was half that of the national average.

Hispanics increased as the country's largest minority group, at 14.4% of the population, compared with 12.8% for blacks.

South Carolina's immigrant population has grown by 47% since 2000, more than any other state. The number of Hispanics grew by 48% in Arkansas, the most of any state.

Immigrants and Hispanics are attracted by a healthy economy that offers jobs requiring few skills, says Michael MacFarlane, South Carolina's state demographer. "They are in all sorts of construction, food processing, service jobs, the whole spectrum, where they used to be primarily in agriculture," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Fewer whites

At the other extreme, only 1.1% of West Virginia's population was born outside the US while Mississippi, Montana and North Dakota had 2% or less.

Whites are a minority in four states - Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Texas - and the District of Columbia.

The figures published in the American Community Survey, conducted annually, will replace the 10-year census.

The survey does not take in the 3% of people who live in nursing homes, hospitals, universities, military barracks, prisons and other "group dwellings".

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