Report: Hispanic population surging in Colorado counties

Hispanics account for half of the population growth in the United States since 2000 with five Colorado counties reporting dramatic population increases of 41 percent or more.

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That’s according to a new study released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center, which reports that the Hispanic population grew in the majority of Colorado counties from 2000 to 2007, continuing trends from the 1990s.

Five counties — Denver, Douglas, Arapahoe, Garfield and Eagle — all had Hispanic populations increase by more than 41 percent, a statistic that indicates “fast growth,” according to the center study, which used federal census data.

The same counties in the state also reported steady “fast growth” in the 1990s.

Colorado’s Hispanic population is currently estimated by federal data to make up 20 percent of the state’s total population, and the number has show no signs of declining in the last 10 years.

However, despite protests in some corners of an “invasion” of Spanish-speakers to the U.S., overall Hispanic population is just 15 percent of the nation’s total population and 20 percent of Colorado’s census. No Colorado county was listed in either the top 25 Hispanic population centers or highest growth regions in the U.S.

For census purposes, the term “Hispanic” has a specific meaning — persons who come from 19 predominantly Spanish-speaking countries or who consider themselves of Spanish heritage from Central and South America, the Caribbean or Spain.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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