County has seventh-largest Hispanic population in U.S.

Published on October 30th, 2008

Influence will increase in second generation

WASHINGTON D.C. • San Bernardino County has the seventh-largest Hispanic population in the nation, accounting for 47 percent of all county residents, according to a recent report.

The study reports a trend that can be seen locally, with more native-born, second-generation Hispanics than those who migrate from the south, which many say will strengthen their influence over all aspects of society.

“In a reversal of past trends, Latino population growth in the new century has been more a product of the natural increase — births minus deaths — of the existing population than it has been of new international migration,” according to the study.

But the Pew Hispanic Center, author of the study, has again underestimated the impact of illegal aliens in the country, according to Richard Oltman, spokesman for Californians for Population Stabilization.

Estimates released by the Pew Hispanic Center earlier this month show there were 11.9 million “unauthorized immigrants” living in the United States in March 2008. But Oltman said that CAPS has acquired its own estimates using four different methods, putting that estimate between 20 million and 30 million.

“The (population) increase is being fueled in California 100 percent by legal immigration and illegal immigration and the babies they are having,” Oltman said.

The total Hispanic population in San Bernardino County is 938,798 according to the Pew Hispanic Center’s analysis of U.S. Census data. Latinos also have accounted for half of the population growth nationwide since 2000.

The study does include births from foreign-born and native-born Latinos, said Pew Center’s Senior Researcher Richard Fry, but it shows a large second generation of Hispanics who could significantly influence elections, schools and labor markets.

“This growth is not strictly from immigration; these are things that are going to have secondary effects,” Fry added.

That trend is also seen locally, especially in schools.

In the Hesperia Unified School District, the number of Latino students has increased to 57 percent while the number of English language learners has dropped to 24 percent. By comparison, in the 2006-07 school year the Latino student population was 55 percent with 25 percent English language learners.

“On the local level, you’d have to be blind to see that the demographics haven’t changed,” said Vickie Cabriales, executive director of the High Desert Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Cabriales said she has seen a significant increase in Hispanic-owned businesses recently come to the Victor Valley.

She quoted another report that estimates that by 2015 the Inland Empire’s Latino population will exceed 51 percent.

Since 1990, the Latino population in San Bernardino County has increased by 148 percent while the county’s overall population since then has increased by just 42 percent.

Yet, the 40 percent increase in Latino population the county has experienced since 2000 pales in comparison to the 77 percent increase it had from 1990 to 2000.

Ryan Orr may be reached at 951-6277 or [email protected].

Hispanic population by the numbers:
Year: 1990
• 378,582 — San Bernardino County’s Hispanic population.
• 1,418,380 — San Bernardino County’s total population.
Year: 2000
• 669,387 — San Bernardino County’s Hispanic population.
• 1,709,434 — San Bernardino County’s total population.
Year: 2007
• 938,798 — San Bernardino County’s Hispanic population.
• 2,007,800 — San Bernardino County’s total population.
• 13,088,000 — Total Hispanic population in California.

Source: The Pew Hispanic Center.

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