Four state metro areas lead in Hispanic growth


Published: Thursday, August 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 1, 2002 at 12:00 a.m.
The Hispanic populations of four Florida metro areas were among the fastest-growing in the nation during the past 20 years, according to a new study.
Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando and Sarasota saw their Hispanic communities grow between 397 percent and 859 percent, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy.
The 12 areas with the fastest-growing Hispanic communities, according to the study, were: Raleigh, N.C.; Atlanta; Greensboro, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando; Las Vegas; Nashville; Fort Lauderdale; Sarasota; Portland; Greenville, S.C.; and West Palm Beach.
The report separated growth patterns into four categories: new Latino destinations, fast-growing hubs, established Latino metropolitan areas and small Latino places.
New Latino destinations are where small Hispanic population bases are increasing the fastest.
Areas with larger bases that also experienced significant growth, including Phoenix, San Diego and Houston, are referred to in the report as "fast-growing Latino hubs."
"Those cities are where the Latino population is going to play an increasingly important, even dominant role," Roberto Suro, director of the Washington D.C.-based Pew center.
In both the fast-growing hubs and the new destinations, public officials, business leaders and nonprofit groups are likely to face social service and economic challenges, as well as opportunities, the Pew and Brookings officials said.
In the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, for instance, the Hispanic population increased from 5,670 people in 1980 to 72,580 people in 2000, a growth rate of 1,180 percent.
However, North Carolina's government initially was unable to provide some services for people with limited proficiency in English. Jalil Isa, Hispanic affairs spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said the state is addressing the problem.
The researchers also noticed that communities near cities with established Hispanic populations saw tremendous growth.
With Miami-Dade County and its large Cuban community immediately to the south, Broward County has long anticipated a growth in the Hispanic population, said Richard Ogburn, chief planner for the South Florida Regional Planning Council.
"Since we know that this is happening, we have to think of the needs of this community," Ogburn said. "What do school districts need to do? How are the health needs different? Are there certain diseases that are more prevalent?"

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top