County’s population fueled by Hispanic growth

    The latest U.S. Census Bureau population estimates for Elkhart County show the Hispanic population is edging up. The highest concentration of the group is in the 0 to 19 age range, where they make up 22 percent of the total population here.
    Posted on May 21, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

    Elkhart County’s Hispanic population keeps edging up and its presence is strongest in younger population categories, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2011.

    Here’s the lowdown:

    Ÿ Elkhart County’s overall population reached 198,941 as of July 1 last year, according to estimates released Thursday, up 1,382 from the official 2010 count of 197,559.

    Ÿ Hispanics led the growth, reaching 28,865, up 979 from 27,886 in 2010. Non-Hispanic whites are still the largest racial or ethnic group, with a 2011 population of 152,924, up 78 from 152,846 in 2010. Non-Hispanic blacks numbered 11,222, up 167 from 2010.

    Ÿ Overall, non-Hispanic whites account for 76.9 percent of Elkhart County’s 2011 population, down from 77.4 percent in 2010. Hispanics account for 14.5 percent up the population, up from 14.1 percent, while the figure for blacks is unchanged at 5.6 percent.

    Ÿ The presence of Hispanics is particularly strong in the 0 to 19 age group, where they numbered 13,553, 22 percent of the 2011 population of 61,571 in the segment. Non-Hispanic whites, 40,669, accounted for 66.1 percent of the total and blacks, 4,207, accounted for 6.8 percent.

    Ÿ Hispanics’ presence is even more concentrated in the 0 to 9 age group, where they totaled 7,820, 24.8 percent of the overall 2011 population of 31,584.

    Nationally, Hispanics are the biggest and fastest-growing minority group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. They numbered 52 million nationwide in 2011, up 3.1 percent from 2010, which boosted the group’s share of the total U.S. population to 16.7 percent, up from 16.3 percent in 2010.

    The concentration of Hispanics in Elkhart County has historically been in the cities of Elkhart and Goshen, but Thursday’s numbers only offer countywide counts. They don’t break the figures down by city or town.

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