USA Today Looks at Counties’ Response to Increase in Hispanic Population
A USA Today series on Monday examined a nationwide increase in the Hispanic population and how various parts of the country are responding to the population boom.
According to a study published in the June issue of Population and Development Review, the Hispanic population increased by 10.2 million between 2000 and 2007, and 58.6%, or 6.8 million, of the increase was because of births (Nasser , USA Today, 6/30).
Saline County, Kan., is offering more public services to account for an increase in its Hispanic population. According to USA Today, Hispanics made up 6% of the county's population in 2000 and almost 8% by 2006.
Yvonne Gibbons, director of Salina-Saline County Health Department, said, "We have noticed an increase in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) immunization," adding, "There are younger babies. A lot of them are born here in the United States." In addition, some small clinics in the county have been "scrambling to hire bilingual staffs," according to USA Today (Nasser , USA Today, 6/30).
Bureau and Putnam counties in Illinois also are offering more public health services to Hispanics, USA Today reports. The dental clinic run by the counties' health department three years ago hired a Spanish-speaking dentist, after which the patient load increased from 3,000 to 8,000. Diana Rawlings, public health administrator for the counties, said, "The Hispanic community is getting more and more comfortable coming here, and that's the goal of public health."
In Grady County, Ga., the number of Hispanics has doubled in the last few years. Rusty Moye, the county's administrator, said, "It's put a strain on our emergency services," adding that many Hispanics are "using our emergency rooms as their health clinics because when they get sick, they have no doctor" (Nasser , USA Today, 6/30).