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Julie Kinnaird | January 29, 2019

As North Carolina’s Hispanic population hovers around one million people, or about 9% of the total population (U.S. Census Bureau 2016 Population Estimates), did you know that the majority (almost 60%) of Hispanics or Latinos in our state are U.S.-born citizens, according to UNC’s Carolina Demography 2017 article The Hispanic/Latino Community in North Carolina? The majority of recent growth in Hispanic/Latino populations in North Carolina has come from births to current North Carolina residents and from in-migration of U.S. born Hispanic and Latino residents from other states.

There are many reasons why Hispanics/Latinos settle in North Carolina, but the opportunities for work and the aspirations for a better future for their families are surely among the top. Seventy-one percent of Hispanics/Latinos over age 16 participate in the labor force, higher than the national average. Yet, around 40% of Hispanics and Latinos living in North Carolina are under the age of 18. These youth are sitting in North Carolina classrooms. These students and their families have come, not only from Mexico, but from many nations of Central and South America. The majority (57%) of all North Carolina Hispanic or Latino residents identify as having a Mexican background. Ten percent identify as Puerto Rican heritage and another 15% identify as coming from a Central American background such as Salvadoran, Honduran, or Guatemalan, each bringing their own cultures, traditions and languages that can be shared in our classrooms.

According to University of California, Los Angeles professor Patricia Gándara, Latinos, as a group, lag in academic achievement and educational attainment compared to white and Asian students, largely because they begin school significantly behind their peers.

Interested in learning more about Latino demographics in the United State or of strategies and programs to support Latinos in your school community? Join us in March for World View’s spring seminar, Latin America and North Carolina (March 19-20). The program aims to increase educator’s knowledge of Latin America and Latin American cultures, particularly as it relates to Latino students in North Carolina. Together we will explore key issues and themes related to Latin America’s history, politics, economies, and the diverse cultures represented in this region as well as the relevant connections between the region and North Carolina. During our March seminar educators will build their toolkits of resources and strategies for promoting Latino students’ educational success and understanding the tremendous asset we have in diverse populations.

Join us on March 19-20 in Chapel Hill to learn more and to be a part of the conversation.

Other resources to learn more:

Rebecca Tippett and Krista M. Perreira. The Hispanic/Latino Community in North Carolina. Carolina Demography. October 2017.

Patricia Gándara. The Potential and Promise of Latino Student. American Educators, Spring 2017: 4-11.

Marcela Cuellar. Understanding Latinx College Student Diversity and Why it Matters. Higher Education Today. American Council on Education. January 29, 2018

Christopher Howe. Improving the Achievement of Hispanic Students. Educational Leadership. ASCD. May 1994.

How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs and Latino Student Success: Providing the Right Learning Opportunities. ¡Colorín Colorado!

Esmeralda Fabián Romero. Lifting up California’s Latino students in 2018: 4 big things parents say they want to see in their schools this year. LA School Report, Jan 2018.