How will burgeoning Hispanic population affect our state?

There’s an interesting story from the Associated Press this morning about new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

One of the most intriguing statistics is that the state’s Hispanic population nearly doubled between 2000 and 2008, from 10,903 to 21,016. That’s an increase of 93.75 percent.

I wondered how that compares to the number of American Indians in the state, or what the Census Bureau identifies as "American Indian and Alaska Native." The number of those kinds of people in South Dakota increased by 8.83 percent between 2000 and 2008, from 62,483 to 68,000.

I find that interesting because there’s been so much focus at the state and federal levels of government on improving life for Indians (some would say there hasn’t been near enough focus on that, but that’s another topic for another day).

If current trends continue, Hispanics could someday soon outnumber Indians in South Dakota. I wonder, how will South Dakota policies and politics be affected if that happens?

6 thoughts on “How will burgeoning Hispanic population affect our state?

  1. Hispanics are not segregated or treated differently like Native Americans. If the number continue to grow then all you will see is more menus and signs in Spanish. Are you implying that we need to give the Black Hills to them ore something? Or that they get their own police forces and be allowed to build Hispanic Casinos? I have to roll my eyes at the question.

  2. I see some serious ramifications from this:

    * Corona will replace Bud and Bud Light as the favorite beer of South Dakota.
    * No longer will South Dakotans eat turkey for Thanksgiving. Instead, there will be tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. Fajitas will be acceptable, too.
    * All cable TV packages will include Univision.
    * Bullfighting will replace bull riding at rodeos.
    * Greeters at Wal-Mart will say both, “Welcome to Wal-Mart!” and “Bienvenidos a Wal-Mart!”

    On the really more serious side, I see a few other possible ramifications:
    * Nationwide, the Latino population tends to vote Democratic, so the state Democratic Party could gain some more voters.
    * There could be problems in some small towns that are almost all-white now as more people from different ethnic groups come in.
    * Depending on whether they enter the U.S. legally or illegally, there could be an increase in problems with illegal immigrants. South Dakota companies could face more scrutiny about their hiring practices.
    * South Dakota rednecks who have long made racist remarks about Native Americans will now have another ethnic group to direct their ignorance toward.

  3. Well, the fact that there is “so much” aid for Native Americans has really nothing to do with the number or percentage of South Dakotans they represent.

    The stupidity of the first reply to this post blows my mind. Every time I think, ya know, South Dakota is really coming around… I read posts like that and remember that there are still a lot of ignorance out there. I agree with Darren on his last point.

  4. Meeps,

    I didn’t read the first response as being anti-Indian or -Hispanic. I thought “huh” was making the point that the situations of these two respective minority communities in SD are not at all similar, that comparing government spending per capita is a pointless exercise, and that absent any explicitly-stated particular concerns about the rise in the SD Hispanic population, it is silly for any of us to freak out. (Which, of course, is not to say that, were the comparison more valid, a freak-out would then be justified.) I took “huh” to be saying *not* “Don’t panic, Hispanics aren’t as scary like Indians are,” but rather “Why the panic? You’ve given us nothing but a vague comparison to Indians which goes nowhere, and fails at every point even along the normally accepted channels of SD anti-Indian bigotry.”

    I *think*. : )

  5. Craticula,
    Yeah, sarcasm is sometimes hard to convey. If there was any in the first post, I didn’t pick up on it. I agree with you, Craticula. I think you hit the nail on the head with the “vague comparison” bit.

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