The U.S. Census is offering a more detailed picture of how Latino populations across Oregon -- and the United States - have grown over the past ten years. April Baer joins me now. Hi April.
April Baer: Hi Beth.
Beth Hyams: Hasn't the Census been rolling out these numbers for a while?
April Baer: That's true. You may remember some reports that came out last winter, noting that Oregon's Latino population grew quite a bit between 2000 and 2010. as of 2010 it stands at about twelve percent. There's a lot of variation from county to county.
What's new are the breakdowns of where Hispanic respondents come from, and in some cases, where they settled.
Here's a fun fact: if you want to talk about demographic growth, the fastest growing Hispanic population group was Spaniards. True, they number only 680 thousand people nationwide, and almost seven thousand in Oregon, but they did turn up with higher percentages of population growth over the ten year period.
Now, if you're talking about raw numbers, the numbers become more familiar. The census tallied that, asking how people described their or their family's country of origin. Here's the Census Bureau's Sharon Ines.
Sharon Ines: "In 40 states of the US, we found that Mexicans were the largest origin group. Now we found that most of these states were in he South and in the West."
She means. states like Oregon.
Beth Hyams: What areas of Oregon saw the greatest increases in Latino population?
April Baer: First off, Oregon's Latino population has grown due to both net migration and natural increase. People moved in, and people who live here had kids. We can say that births within the state represented a large slice of growth, but immigration into Oregon was the biggest factor.
Charles Rynerson is a data analyst with Portland State University's Center for Population Research.
Charles Rynerson "The Latino population doubled in Linn County. Hispanic share is still s maller than the state's, at about eight percent in Linn County, compared with 12% statewide."
Other places, experienced growth that was large in percentage as well as in raw numbers -- for example, Deschutes County experienced a 172% growth in HIspanic population from about 4300 in 2000 to 11,700 last year.
Charles Rynerson says he thinks the Latino pop is climbing in urban areas. Some of that is natural demographic growth. Used to be Latinos came to work farm jobs. Now we may be seeing their children or grandchildren moving to cities, going into different lines of work. The census will release more data on this, probably over the summer.
Beth Hyams: Have counties made changes in what they do in response to the Latino boom?
April Baer: A lot of things. Some places, like Bend police department, say they haven't really needed to retool their services.
But other places, be they privately-owned businesses or public agencies, made changes.
Todd Dunkerlberg is director of the Deschutes Public Library. He told me the library initiated a pretty wide-ranging outreach program. It actually pre-dated the big Latino population boom in Deschutes County. It involved going out and finding people who weren't using library services.
Todd Dunkerlberg: "In a lot of Latino cultures they don't' have the concept of a free library, We had to do a lot of ed about whatt he lib is, it does't cost. We went out to places like Healthy Beginnings, Head Starts."
The library redid its online catalog and card applications with Spanish language interface.
Interestingly, Dunkelburg says the library system didn't have to acquire that many more titles in Spanish. He finds families who do visit the libraries are mostly looking for books for their kids - their bilingual kids. So it was enough, he says, to do the outreach in a way that was friendly to Spanish speakers. The people who responded were happy with what the library already offers - books and internet access, among other things.
Beth Hyams: Thank you, April.
April Baer: My pleasure.