McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

March 20, 2013

Report- 90% growth in number of Hispanics in Pittsburg County

McALESTER — The number of Hispanics in Pittsburg County has grown 90 percent since 2000.

Last week, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy released its latest Kids Count report on Oklahoma's changing Demographics: A Catalyst for a Pro-Growth Oklahoma.  

“The purpose of the report is to provide a picture of Oklahoma’s child population and demographics today as compared to a decade ago,” said Doug Gibson, interim executive director.

“We know these demographic changes can be leveraged as a resource for economic growth and that’s why we are excited about the information we are releasing today.” 

Sharon Rodine, author of the report and OICA’s Director of Youth Initiatives said the report focuses on the changing demographics related to the children of immigrant families, and the potential the changes hold for Oklahoma’s future workforce and economy for Oklahoma businesses.

“The report indicates a major increase in the number of Hispanic students enrolled in (local) public schools and provides a snapshot of other key child well-being indicators being driven by the changing demographics,” Rodine said.  

Key findings from the issue brief include:

• A six percent increase (almost double) in the number of Hispanic children statewide.

• A 12 percent decrease in the number of non-Hispanic white children.

• 14 Oklahoma counties (almost 20 percent) saw more than 100 percent growth in Hispanic population

• Oklahoma children in immigrant families are more likely than children in native-born parent families to live in two-parent households (84 percent to 70 percent).

• More than four out of every five (86 percent) children in immigrant families are U.S. born.

Gibson said that data compiled from the report is driving OICA’s 2013 legislative agenda where child advocates are fighting for policies that directly impact the changing demographics of Oklahoma's children and families by asking Oklahoma lawmakers to;

• Invest in education reforms that aim to put children on a path to reading at grade level by the third grade and graduating high school on time.

•  Protect the Oklahoma Child Care Tax Credit that incentivizes work and allows Oklahoma parents to ensure their children attend quality child care early in life.

• Save early intervention home visitation initiatives that give low income parents the tools to give their child a healthy start and show up to school ready to learn. 

“By releasing this issue brief on the changing demographics of Oklahoma’s children and families during the legislative session, we are bringing data-driven information to the debate about important policy decisions being made by lawmakers at the State Capitol,” Gibson said.

For copies of the Kids Count report on Oklahoma’s Changing Demographics, visit OICA’s website at oica.org.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternewscom.

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