A line forms every morning at the counter inside of La Oaxaquena Bakery where the fresh baked conchas, chilindrina and empanadas smell way too good to pass up.
Ramiro Vasquez opened the bakery in the heart of the busy SW 29 business corridor about five years ago and the majority of his regulars are Hispanics.
“I think Oklahoma is one of the cities that has big potential for Hispanics,” said Vasquez, 42. “It's a city that is growing right now.”
But while the explosive growth of Hispanics living in Oklahoma might have helped fuel Vasquez business success, the surge appears to be slowing. In recent years, Hispanic population growth in Oklahoma has dropped considerably and, in fact, may now even be in decline, according to recently released census figures.
Some demographers attribute the falling numbers to a cooling state economy while others speculate that Oklahoma's strict anti-immigration laws may be playing a role.
The Hispanic population loss marks a sharp contrast to just a few years ago in the Sooner State.
From 2000 to 2010, the number of Hispanics living in the state grew 85 percent, to 347,000. Hispanics made up nine percent of Oklahoma's 3.8 million people. Nationwide, Hispanics represented almost 17 percent of the population.
But between 2010 and 2012, the number of Hispanics in Oklahoma is estimated to have declined by about a quarter percent, or about 900 people. Meanwhile, the number of Hispanics nationwide grew 1.3 percent during the same time period.
Right now, we see a lot of families coming to Oklahoma. A lot of our customers are moving here because over here you've got a lot of job opportunities. It's hard to get jobs in those other states.”
The owner of La Oaxaquena Bakery opened the business five years ago on the SW 29 corridor.