Latino population increase slows in suburban Chicago

Author: Shannon Chapla


The Latino population of the Chicago Metropolitan area continued to increase this year, but the rate of increase has slowed slightly in the suburban counties surrounding Cook County, according to the University of Notre Dames Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), which cites estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Latino population growth historically has been concentrated in urban Chicago, but since the 1980s, the growth rate has been faster in the suburbs than in the city.While that trend continues, the new census data indicates that suburban Latino population growth is slowing slightly.

Census data show last year the Latino population in the Chicago metropolitan area comprised of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties increased by 2.7 percent, which is slightly higher than the 2.6 percent increase in 2006.At the same time, growth slowed in the counties surrounding Cook, increasing by only 5 percent, compared with 5.8 percent the year before.

Despite the minor slowdown, the Latino population growth presents both school and workforce challenges for many suburban Chicago municipalities, according to the ILS.Latino preschoolers represent 31.7 percent of the regions total population under five years of age.Their numbers increased by 1.7 percent last year, compared with 1 percent in 2006.The largest increases occurred in Will and McHenry counties at 9 and 5 percent, respectively.

The data shows the number of Latino adults in the region also is on the rise.Last year the number of Latinos between the ages of 20 and 64 increased by 2.6 percent to more than 57 percent of the Latino population and nearly 20 percent of the total adult population in Metropolitan Chicago.

The counties with the greatest increases in the number of Latino adults were Will (8 percent), McHenry (6.5 percent) and Lake (3.9 percent), which, according to the ILS, suggests that Latinos are moving to follow job opportunities.

Founded in 1999, the ILS promotes understanding and appreciation of the social, cultural and religious life of U.S. Latinos by advancing research, expanding knowledge and strengthening community.

_ Contact: John Koval, director of research, Institute for Latino Studies, 574-631-2974,_ " "

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