Census 2000 data include changes in the way people were counted. The most significant change is to allow persons to select more than one race, creating a new multiracial category of “two or more races”, but meaning people may not be included in the race with which they most identify. There was, however, no way to choose more than one ethnicity; one must choose either Latino or not. Throughout this profile, numbers reflect Latinos of all races, or non-Latinos by race, with persons of two or more races counted separately. All categorizations are based solely on self-identification. All of this complicates comparisons between 1990 and 2000 data. However, the concepts are similar enough to make trends and patterns clear.
In Rhode Island, the general population changes from 1990 to 2000 were similar to national and state trends. The population of people of color — African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders — grew at a higher rate than did the population of non-Hispanic Whites, which actually shrank. The total population of Rhode Island increased by 4.5%, but its composition changed substantially. Latinos had a larger numerical growth than any other group, increasing by 45,068 or 98.5%. Latinos now represent 8.7% of the population, an increase of 4.1 percentage points. Rhode Island has the third largest population of Latinos in New England and the 34th largest in the 50 states.
Vasquez, Daniel W., "Latinos in Rhode Island" (2003). Gastón Institute Publications. 97.