Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Watch Out North Carolina Latinos Have Arrived

Latinos are taken over the mountains of western North Carolina, according to the US Census.  U.S. Census Bureau estimates puts the number of Latinos in the 18 counties of Western North Carolina at 31,661 in 2008 and rising. That’s up from 22,861 in 2003.  Buncombe County Public School ESL director Geneva Neeriemer said ESL student numbers have increased from 962 in 2003 to 2,125 at the end of the last school year.  The medical service is also noticing a rise in Latino population.  At the Buncombe County Health Center, Medical Director Gibbie Harris said they are seeing about a one percent increase in the number of Latino patients this over this (’09) fiscal year as in '08.  That rounds out to about 4,200 seen in '09, which is up from 4,000 a year earlier.  Experts and those in services geared towards Latinos say the total number of Latinos is likely higher than census estimates because undocumented workers often do not show up on official headcounts.  Its clear Latinos do like the mountain region, for many of the same reasons others who move here do: a good quality of life, good schools and beautiful scenery.


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