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Oklahoma census: State Hispanic population grows 85 percent since 2000

BY ANN KELLEY AND PAUL MONIES Modified: February 21, 2011 at 11:19 am •  Published: February 16, 2011

Twenty years ago, the city had one Spanish radio station and one Spanish-language newspaper.

Now there are four newspapers catering to Hispanics, three radio stations and four television stations, he said.

“Now literally in some areas if you don't speak Spanish, you might find your self feeling like you're in a different world,” Hernandez said.

The number of Hispanic-owned businesses has increased from 180 to 300 in the past three years, according to a study by the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

A campaign that encouraged Hispanics to fill out their 2010 Census questionnaire may have contributed to the spike in their population numbers, said David Castillo, executive director of the Hispanic chamber.

Higher birthrate

could've been factor

Castillo said all of the population growth among Hispanics cannot be attributed to Hispanics moving to Oklahoma.

He said some of the boom is the Hispanic birthrate, which is higher than other groups.

Overall, Hispanics who live in the U.S. have higher rates of fertility than whites, blacks or Asians. And among Hispanics, the foreign born have higher rates of fertility than native born, the Pew Hispanic Center reported.

Castillo said educating Hispanics about the census and encouraging them to fill out their census questionnaires also may have contributed to the spike.

The 2000 Census did a poor job of counting Hispanics,” Castillo said. “This time more education was done in the Hispanic community about the census and its importance.”

Most of the state's counties showed increases in Hispanic population.

At almost 42 percent, Texas County in the Panhandle had the highest proportion of Hispanic population.

More than 8,600 of the county's 20,640 residents identified themselves as Hispanic.

That was followed by Harmon and Blaine counties, both of which had Hispanic populations in excess of 24 percent.

The decennial census does not ask questions about immigration status.

But a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center said Oklahoma had an estimated75,000 undocumented immigrants in 2010.

That's up from an estimated 55,000 in 2007.


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