Tennessee HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
Tennessee only recently became a popular Latino destination, but its emergence as such has been quick and dramatic. From 1990 to 2000, the state’s Mexican-born population, the largest component of Tennessee’s Latino population, increased by 2,166 percent the highest rate of increase in the nation.
Across Tennessee, Latino neighborhoods have appeared rapidly as Latino children have enrolled in schools, Latino families have bought houses, and the ethnic and linguistic composition of labor markets, public spaces, and other aspects of Tennessee have latinized, so to speak. Tennessee may not have a long history as a migrant-receiving state, but Latinos who have arrived in the last fifteen years are making strong inroads into the state’s political, economic, and cultural practices. Although many Tennesseans believe that new Latino arrivals are the first to come to the Volunteer State, Tennessee’s history has included a Latino presence since its colonial period.