March 25, 2011 | WKTV | Original Article

Census shows Utica has growing Hispanic population

The latest Census numbers released on Thursday show a population increase in Herkimer County and a population decrease in Oneida County of 600 people.

Despite the small decrease, the numbers are better than expected.

Dale Miller, Principal Planner for Oneida County, said the latest Census data shows how resilient Central New York is. He says population declined significantly back in the '90's after Griffis Air Force Base closed.

After the closure, it was predicted that the population in Oneida County would decline significantly over the decade. Miller says although the ripples of the closure are still being felt, the data shows there is still light at the end of the tunnel.

"I don't want to say loss is a good thing...but we've turned that corner," Miller said.

The City of Utica has seen a population increase of 1,700 people over the past 10 years.

Utica's growing Hispanic population has contributed to much of that, growing by 85 percent. It is the biggest increase of any ethnic group.

Tony Colon, of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association, said there has been a Hispanic presence in Upstate New York since the '50's. The community has grown and census numbers are just catching up.

"This area has been an area of migrants....for many generations and many different cultures," he said.

If you want more information about Utica's growing Hispanic community you can attend a meeting held by the Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Inc. It will be held at Tropical Delight Restaurant on Bleecker Street, in Utica on Saturday (3/26) at 3:00 p.m. Assemblyman Felix Ortix will be the guest speaker.