Study finds Orlando area is a magnet for Puerto Ricans
By ADRIENNE LU
Published June 19, 2003
From 1990 to 2000, the number of Hispanics living in Florida, Texas, California and New York increased from 16-million to more than 23-million - more Hispanics than lived in the entire country in 1990, said Charles Louis Kincannon, director of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Detailed state and local statistics from the census will not be available until later this year. However, on Wednesday Gabriela D. Lemus, director of policy and legislation for the League of United Latin American Citizens, released the results of her study of three cities with emerging Hispanic populations - Orlando, Little Rock, Ark., and Cicero, Ill.
The Orlando metropolitan area is the fifth-largest destination area for Hispanics in the country, Lemus said, with Hispanics making up 17 percent of the population and Puerto Ricans accounting for 56 percent of Hispanics.
Lemus said the census estimates may undercount the true number of Hispanics in the Orlando region, however.
One reason is that many Puerto Ricans travel frequently between Florida and Puerto Rico. Another is that some Hispanics may have classified themselves as white, although the census counts Hispanics of all races. The census deadline, April 1, means those who return to Orlando for the summer are not counted. And some Hispanics declined to participate.
Lemus found that Hispanics in the Orlando region are more highly educated than the national average. Of Hispanics who were at least 25 years old, 72 percent had at least a high school degree or a GED.
Lemus said the Orlando region has had some difficulties accommodating all the Hispanic newcomers.
Some schools, for example, have had trouble finding enough teachers to teach English as a second language, while others have grown overcrowded because of fast population growth, regardless of ethnicity.
Emergency services have had difficulty finding bilingual personnel to meet the needs of the region, Lemus said. And an August health care summit in Orlando found that Hispanics in the Orlando area received worse care than non-Hispanics, based on a number of measures - for example, Hispanics were less likely to receive diagnostic tests for diabetes, strokes or cancer and less likely to undergo bypass surgery or angioplasty.