The 2010 census has for weeks now been providing new details of the enormous Hispanic population growth across most states of the union, and now it is also helping to paint a different picture of where minorities, including many Latinos, live.
Decades ago when a demographer spoke of a minority community, it almost always depicted a dilapidated part of a major city, a ghetto. A place where people lived in an often overcrowded and unpleasant conditions.
Undoubtedly, many of those ghettos and poor neighborhoods still exist across the nation. But the 2010 census is demonstrating that not all minorities – including many Hispanics are now living in these conditions. They have been moving to the suburbs.
According to The Chicago Tribune, such is the case of Andreas Villegas who moved to suburban Addison Village a decade ago and has no regrets. Living a little over 20 miles west of Chicago has its advantages and its disadvantages. But it is to places like this, all across the nation, where minorities are now choosing to live.
Villegas, who moved from Mexico to the Chicago area 20 years ago, cheerfully talks about all the things she can do in a small town ambiance that she couldn’t do if she lived in the city. She chats with her daughter’s high school principal regularly, greets police officers by name and attends weekly meetings of a Latino parents group.
“Sometimes I walk by my house in the night and I think, ‘In Chicago, I couldn’t do this,’ ” said Villegas, 44.
All this in a village that in the mid-1990′s was accused of housing bias by its Latino residents. Now 45 percent of its population is Hispanic, according to the 2010 census. The Chicago Daily said in its story that Addison Village is one of many suburbs -including several in outlying Will, McHenry and Kane counties — that saw significant increases in minority populations during the decade.
Not all of the new suburbanites are Hispanic, although the greatest number of new suburbanites were Latinos; among them more than 62,000 of the new residents who moved to Will County, in Aurora, Joliet and Bolingbrook.
In its story the Tribune said three patterns continued to emerge in the first decade of the new century.
· Bolingbrook also saw its Asian population more than double, with a surge of Indian, Pakistani, Filipino and Chinese residents, village officials said. In Naperville, the black, Hispanic and Asian populations were each up by 70 percent or more, while the still much larger non-Hispanic white population dipped slightly.
· McHenry County’s small African-American community more than doubled, from 1,379 to 3,045, as more blacks chose to live in suburbs like Crystal Lake, Algonquin and Huntley.
· And continuing a pattern of past decades, the black population grew in many south suburbs, including Homewood, Matteson and Richton Park.
It has not been easy to integrate the different populations. But Chicago’s suburbs have begun the process.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the village of Addison in 1997 settled a housing bias lawsuit brought by Latino residents. The village denied wrongdoing in the case, but it cost the town $4.3 million in lawyers’ fees and compensation for residents whose homes had been torn down as part of a redevelopment plan.
Since then, Mayor Larry Hartwig, who took office in 1995, has worked with community leaders to help longtime residents and newcomers better understand each other. And at Addison Trail High School, Principal Scott Helton has added more than 25 teachers who are fluent in Spanish for a student population that went from 29 percent Latino in 2001 to 54 percent today.
The high school also started Padres Latinos en Accion, a group for Spanish-speaking parents.
Posted by: Conrado Garcia Jamin
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