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Tulsa's Hispanic population is growing

Latinos now outnumber African Americans as the largest minority group in the United States. The U-S Census Bureau reports the Latino population grew to 37-million in 2001, making up 13% of Americans.

How does Tulsa compare? News on Six reporter Heather Johnson takes a closer look at this fast-growing community.

Cesar Ramirez, store manager: "When we first got here Tulsa was everybody knew each other it was slow there wasn't that many Hispanics now it's grown and there are more businesses more of everything for the Hispanic community." Since 1990, Tulsa's Hispanic population has exploded, increasing by 200%. Now, families who move here are greeted with familiar shops and other businesses catering to a Spanish speaking clientele.

Margarita Vega-Trevino, Hispano de Tulsa: “It’s very encouraging for the businesses that target the Hispanic market." Tulsa's Spanish newspaper, started out as a one-page flyer, now it's a weekly publication with a circulation of more than 7,000. While it's our fastest growing minority community, numbers here do not necessarily reflect those nationwide. Hispanics still make up only 6% of the population in Tulsa County. While numbers for whites and blacks mirror U.S. figures more closely.

German Rios, a mediator for local families says traditionally, Latinos tend to stay away from the Midwest and gather in larger numbers on US coasts. German Rios, Hispanic Connection: "What is hard for the Hispanic culture to like it was to leave the countries of origin or the families over there now they find another like a second family in the united states it's hard for them to leave those places again."

Rios says available jobs and local banks willing to invest in the Hispanic community have been a big boost to small business owners. But with all this success, there's still work to be done.

Margarita Vega-Trevino, Hispano de Tulsa: “Some things that could get better would be racial relations among people, among blacks and Hispanics and whites I think there's still a lot of misunderstanding still even though people are open minded"
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