Friday, May 24, 2013
Latino Population Increases By 50 Percent
Alaska's minority population has increased over the last decade including the Hispanic community according to new census numbers.
Alaska’s Hispanic population has grown by 13,397 over the last ten years, an increase of more than 50 percent, according to U.S Census Bureau.
The Latino community grew from 25,852 in 2000 to 39,249 in 2010, according to the latest count. Mexicans make up most of the population with a growth of 8,300 residents: from 13,300 in 2000 to 21,600 in 2010.
Javier Abud, a spokesperson for the Consulate of Mexico, says the increase in the Mexican population is due in part to families spreading the word to other relatives and friends about the positive impact Alaska has had on their lives.
“In Alaska the wages are higher than in lower 48, so if Mexican Americans were getting unemployed in the lower 48, they were looking for better places for jobs and better salaries,” said Abud.
The search for a better life is what brought Ana Gutierrez and her family from Tijuana to Alaska, by way of Washington, almost two decades ago after she got a job offer from the Mexican government. She found her husband in Alaska, as well. She says adjusting to her new life was easier than expected.
“It’s a very kind state, there are not so many people, so people treat each other very nice," Gutierrez said. "So there is not that rush of the big cities. We have opportunity to meet other Hispanics.”
But it Gutierrez says living in Alaska is not just about meeting others who share the same culture.
“We are not trying to establish our culture as an independent, we are trying to be part of all the culture of Alaska,” she said.
Ana’s daughter, 15-year-old Marina Scholl, says because she grew up with Mexican traditions, her mother’s culture doesn’t seem far away.
“It’s like I don’t have to live in Mexico to practice their cultural traditions from there, and it's nice to know that,” she said.