Census Shows Indiana Hispanic Population Booming

Latest Figures Show Dramatic Increase, Particularly In Marion County

New census figures released on Thursday show a 55 percent boom in the number of Hispanics in Indiana, increasing from 214,536 to 389,707 in 10 years.

The increase was even more pronounced in Marion County, which more than doubled its Hispanic population, from about 33,000 to more than 84,000, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported.

The growth has been obvious in neighborhoods, retail areas and in schools.

"Certainly a large increase, just as I had suspected," said Carlos May, Indianapolis' director of Latino affairs. "Over 80 percent of (IPS School No. 96) student body is Latino."

Over the years, Indianapolis police have hired translators for each district to aid in communication between officers and Hispanics. The number of services available to Latinos in Marion County has also increased substantially.

"At least two dozen different nonprofit service providers are geared primarily to the Latino community," May said.

A large effort recently began to ensure families know about the resources, and a new umbrella organization, the Latino American Outreach Association, touts the resources in one place.

The Hispanic Leaders Forum has also formed, providing an informational meeting once a month for people struggling to understand American laws and culture, with a newsletter distributed twice monthly.

At Mama Ines Bakery, on Indianapolis' west side, workers and customers said they think life in Indianapolis is good.

Cashier Ivon Salazar, 29, said she has been in the U.S. for 11 years. She lived in Ohio, but she prefers Indianapolis.

"We have a lot of business for Mexican people and (Hispanic) leaders and help for Medicaid and stuff," Salazar said.

Student Cesar Patino has lived in Indianapolis his entire life, but his family is from Mexico. Patino said services in central Indiana are plentiful and easy to get for Hispanics.

"In school, there's tutors for Hispanic people, and in jobs and hospitals, there's translators," Patino said.

May said he believes 3 to 5 percent of Hispanics in Marion County were not counted by the census.