Latino Long Island

Today's Newsday includes this interesting editorial on the growing Latino presence on Long Island: Changing face of LI: Hagedorn study of Hispanic population should be required reading.

Below are excerpts:

Of the 330,000, more than 178,000 are U.S. citizens by birth. And of the 151,000 foreign born, many are legally authorized to live and work here, including those who fled the bloody wars in Central America in the 1980s and 1990s.

Their economic impact is significant: The report estimates that the consumer spending of Hispanic residents pumps almost $5.7 billion a year into the economy. And it documents a robust growth of the Hispanic-owned business sector. In the period from 1997 to 2002, the number of those businesses grew from 12,090 to 16,262, and sales rose from $1.6 billion to just under $2 billion.

This is a younger population, growing much faster than the region as a whole. So, for decades to come, Latinos are likely to be an increasingly major force here on Long Island - economically, culturally and politically.

This report should be must reading for our public officials at all levels of government.

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