March 23, 2011 | ABC 9 KCAUTV | Original Article

Hispanic population soars in South Sioux City

Job opportunities and a low cost of living. That's what some are crediting South Sioux City's jump in its Latino population.

Hispanics now make up 45 % of South Sioux City's population. That's a 20 percent increase since the 2000 census. And Latinos say it's all because the city provides their chance at the American dream.

Agustin Valdovino is originally from Mexico. Four years ago he was living in California and struggling. So he moved to South Sioux City, Nebraska after friends told him it was a place where he could have a better life. And he says a job at La Michoacana has given him just that.

"I have better life opportunities here because where I was places to live where too expensive, less jobs. Here I've had better job possibilities and a better living," said Valdovino. 

Those better job opportunities and low living cots are the primary reasons why South Sioux City's Hispanic population has gone from 25 to 45 percent in the last 10 years. That's a 20% increase. But Elio Vega says there's another reason why he moved to South Sioux City 10 years ago.

"South Sioux is a tranquil place. It's very well taken care by the police. There's not a lot of violence," said Vega.

City administrator Lance Hedquist says the growth of the Hispanic population will continue as more industries expand. And those who already live in South Sioux will spread the word.

"When there's an existing base of citizens here it's an easier place to come in and they can feel at home and know that they're in a community that has lots of friends," said Hedquist. 

The growth in the Hispanic population hasn't been limited to South Sioux City. In fact the entire state of Nebraska has seen an increase of 73,000 Hispanics since the 2000 census.