South Should Embrace Latinos to Economically ‘Rise Again’


The Southern states of the United States should look at the growth of the Latino population – native born or not – as a good thing and should be looked at as the opportunity of a lifetime.
That’s the finding of an English newspaper, The Guardian, which reports, “As a region, southern states have the highest number of college going Latinos in the country. Georgia, Arkansas, and Louisiana have seen triple digit Latino enrollment growth on their college campuses.”
In addition to college statistics, population numbers reflect the same trend. A majority of Latinos live in states like Florida, California and Illinois, five states have seen the fastest growth of this minority group since 2000. Four of these states are southern states: Kentucky, Arkansas, and North and South Carolina.
According to Pew Hispanic, Latinos are also seen as the youngest ethnic group with the average age of 27, and are also the most technologically savvy ethnic group.
In a land of economic development, there is a potential here to have an abundant educated workforce trained for the careers of the future. Since today’s Latinos are young, talented, and savvy they are sought out by industries willing to do what is necessary to hire them. This is seen as an opportunity for the southern states seeking talent.
Texas realized it years ago and as the number of Latinos grew in the state and on its college campuses, the state’s higher education board implemented the “closing the gap” plan, which listed among its goals the increase of Latinos college enrollment. In 2012 CNBC declared Texas as the nation’s top state for businesses. The states developed an education system that created a viable, vibrant workforce in a state that is 37.2% Latino.
Texas and the other southern states serve as lessons for the other southern states as the Latino population continues to increase and as the immigration discussion takes more of the national spotlight.