November 9, 2012


Heartland Draws Hispanics to Help Revive Small Towns (MIRIAM JORDAN, 11/09/12, WSJ)

Hispanic migration to the Midwest has political implications. Though only 2.2% of eligible voters in Iowa are Latinos, President courted them. He won in five out of seven counties that together are home to half of Iowa's Latino population. The president also won in Wapello County, where Ottumwa is the county seat. Nationally, Hispanics accounted for 10% of the electorate for the first time, and helped power Mr. Obama to victory.

The "Latino Diaspora" is playing a key role in revitalizing small-town America once plagued with a shrinking tax base and dim prospects for economic growth.

Since the 1990s, Latinos have flocked to places like Dalton, Ga., to work in the carpet mills, and to the Piedmont section of North Carolina to work in furniture manufacturing. Many Hispanics work in the hotels and golf courses of Hilton Head, S.C. Some analysts believe the influx could eventually tip more traditionally Republican Southern states into the Democratic column.

The big Hispanic movement to Midwestern small towns has been more recent. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population in the Midwest swelled 49%, more than 12 times the 4% overall population growth there, according to the census.

The number of Latinos climbed 82% in Iowa during that decade and now represents 5% of the state's population, the census found. The Hispanic population grew 82% in Indiana, 77% in Nebraska and 74.5% in Minnesota. Beardstown, Ill., now holds a Cinco de Mayo celebration with mariachi bands and children performing Mexican folk dances across from the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law.

You can either hate your neighbor or be a conservative.

Posted by at November 9, 2012 5:34 AM

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