Hispanics Among Us - Managing The Tsunami
A NEW PEW CENTER REPORT
Last week the Pew Hispanic Center, a Pew Research Center Project, produced a new report for our consideration in which they tell us that Hispanics account for half of the U.S. Population growth since 2000. Mull that fact over just a little, then click on the link, HERE, to go to the site.
A WEALTH OF INFORMATION
Once at the site you will find a wealth of information and links to other segments of this report, including some fascinating interactive maps and interactive databases that provide demographic information about Latinos in each of our 50 states and 3141 counties.
DRAMATIC GROWTH REFLECTED
For example, in 1980 the 14.6 million Hispanics were heavily concentrated in the 47 (out of 3141 counties) that had Hispanic county populations of at least 50,000. In 2007 the 45.5 million Hispanics cover a much wider area and the data provided on some of their maps detail 57 counties that have large Hispanic populations or rapid growth in their Hispanic populations in the new century.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY #1 - NO SURPRISE!
The interactive maps present a very interesting mountain of information. For example, Los Angeles County Ranked #1 in total Hispanic population, with 4.7 million or 47% of the total. It also ranked 1st in growth of the Hispanic population (850,971) from 1990-2000 - 27% and 1st (435,198) from 2000-2007 - 10%.
ORANGE COUNTY #6
The same information for Orange County shows it ranked at #6 in total Hispanic population with just over 998,000, or 33% of the total. It ranked #7 in growth of the Hispanic population (310,751) from 1990-2000 - 55% and 15th from 2000-2007 (122,453) - 14%.
It won't surprise many to learn that Harris County, Texas (Houston) is ranked #2 nationally and that Miami-Dade County in Florida is ranked #3. I was shocked to learn, though, that Cook County, Illinois (Chicago) is ranked #4, ahead of Maricopa County, Arizona (Phoenix) at #5.
CALIFORNIA NUMBERS ARE INTERESTING
In California Hispanics represent 36% of the population, have a median age of 26 years and represent 47% of all K-12 students. In the 12 month period prior to the survey there were 236,000 births to Hispanic women ages 15-44. 26% of Hispanics 17 and younger live in poverty while only 9% of Non-Hispanic Whites live in poverty. These are powerful numbers, and that's only the tip of the iceberg in the Pew Center Report, as you will see when you visit the site.
CONTEMPLATE AS YOU VOTE
As we think about casting our ballots in the pending election - many of us may have already mailed ours in - I think it's important to contemplate what these numbers really represent. We here in Costa Mesa share our city with a Hispanic population estimated to be in excess of 35% of the total. If history bears us out, most of those folks won't vote, but will certainly be impacted by the votes cast on November 4th.
MANAGING THE TSUNAMI
The Hispanic folks in our community are a growing proportion of the residents of this city. There are those in this city who have done their very best to make life miserable for our Hispanic neighbors, including some folks on, or running for, the City Council. As I have written many times before, this wave of Hispanics - mostly immigrants - is the "wave of the future" in our little part of the world - a de facto tsunami. If we don't figure out ways to manage this wave we are destined to be drowned by it.
BEWARE THE RACIST RANTS
There are those who will react to this information with proclamations that those who wish to consider it are "soft on crime" and/or "lefties", intent on making our city another Santa Ana. Horse manure! The fact is that the Hispanic population of our country, and our region in particular, is growing. Those who wish to pull their heads back into their shells like some misguided turtle and hope it all goes away are delusional and just not facing reality. It's time, in my opinion, to elect leaders that understand the realities of life in southern California today and are prepared to deal with it like leaders, not vigilantes.