November 22, 2010 | Queens Courier | Original Article

Queens Hispanic population growing

More than one third of the United States population belongs to a minority group, and Hispanics are the fastest growing segment, according to recent figures.

An estimated one in six residents nationwide is Hispanic, according to the PEW Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America. It is estimated the Hispanic population will grow to 24.5 percent nationwide by the year 2050. In Queens, the Hispanic community has grown by two percent since 2000.

As the economy continues to struggle, some young Latino New Yorkers have started to migrate to Queens. According to the PEW Hispanic Center, there are 327,000 Hispanics between the ages of 16 to 24 living in Queens.

“I’ve lived in New York for about 12 years, the last six of those I’ve lived in Queens, and I have to say, I do see more younger faces where I live,” said Luis Quiñones, 23, who is Dominican and lives in Jackson Heights. “I live and work here. I like it.”

New York State has a Hispanic population of 3,232,000 or 17 percent of the state’s population, according to the PEW Hispanic Center. As of 2008, an estimated 612, 873 Hispanics were registered in Queens alone, census figures show.

“I think Queens is such a diverse borough, Chinese, Indian, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, but I think its common knowledge that there are some areas, like Elmhurst or Corona, where there are more Latinos than in others,” said John Vargas, 30, who lives in Corona.

As the general Hispanic population grows, the number of unemployed young Hispanics is also increasing. An estimated 24.1 percent of young male Puerto Ricans in New York are unemployed and not attending college. Mexican females’ unemployed percentage is 33.9, while their male counterparts have an employment rate of 68.1 percent.

“The amount of young Puerto Rican males who are not attending school and are unemployed makes it a civic crisis in New York,” said Lazar Treschan, director of disconnected youth campaign for the Community Service Society of New York, a nonprofit social welfare organization. “We have to start paying attention to these young people and begin to invest in them.