February 10, 2011 | South Bend Tribune | Original Article

Hispanic population on rise in South Bend, St. Joseph County

Although South Bend lost more than 6,000 residents between 2000 and 2010, the number of people in the city claiming to be either Hispanic or Latino continued to grow.

According to 2010 Census Data released today, the number of Hispanic residents in the city increased from 9,110 in 2000, or about 8.5 percent of the population, to 13,116 in 2010, or about 13 percent of the population.

In fact, Hispanic residents accounted for more than 50 percent of the population growth in Mishawaka over the past 10 years.

Looking at St. Joseph County as a whole, the number of people claiming to be either Hispanic or Latino increased from 12,557 in 2000, or about 4.7 percent of the population, to 19,735 in 2010, or about 7.3 percent of the population.

That just about mirrors the growth in the state, where the number of Hispanic residents increased from 214,536 in 2000, or about 3.5 percent of the population, to 389,707 in 2010, or about 6 percent of the population.

"I think it’s about par for the course," Allert Brown-Gort, assistant director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, said of the growth documented by the Census Bureau.

According to Brown-Gort, Hispanic growth has tended to outpace general population growth in many parts of the Midwest for decades now, partly because of a higher birthrate among Hispanics but also because a general shift in population away from the Midwest and toward warmer areas of the country.

That said, Brown-Gort said the Arizona-style immigration bill introduced in the Indiana Senate could slow population growth among Hispanics if it becomes law.

Introduced by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, that bill would require a person stopped by police to provide proof of citizenship if the officer believes he or she is here illegally.

"Without a doubt," he said. "I haven’t seen any serious studies done yet on Arizona, but I keep seeing a lot of evidence. A lot of people talk about leaving ... people just say they got tired of being stopped every three days."