David Castillo has seen the city change over the past decade. As president of the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, what census data shows in numbers, Castillo sees on the streets of the city and the businesses flourishing there.
“The growth is continuing and will continue for a long time,” Castillo said.
Along SW 29 and other main thoroughfares on the city's south side, mom-and-pop Hispanic businesses are thriving — restaurants, automotive repair shops, markets and barbershops. Castillo said that in 2008 there were 150 members of the chamber. Today, there are nearly 400.
Why OKC is attractive
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the Hispanic community in Oklahoma City grew 95 percent between 2000 and 2010 to just more than 110,000. The Hispanic population in Edmond boomed by 120 percent from about 1,900 in 2000 to over 4,100 in 2010. To the south, Moore's Hispanic population grew 134 percent over the same time period to 4,900. Norman's 10-year growth rate was 90 percent to about 7,100.
The census defines Hispanic or Latino as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Hispanic culture or origin, regardless of race.
Castillo said low unemployment, low cost of living and an abundance of churches make the Oklahoma City area an attractive spot for Hispanics.
As the state's largest metropolitan area, there are a host of jobs and opportunities.
“It is a great place to raise your family and is in the center of the country,” Castillo said. “There are many types of jobs and businesses here.”
In Edmond, where the Hispanic population increased by 120 percent over a decade, schools have increased their English language learners programs.