UNO researchers publish report on Nebraska Hispanic population


By Kaitlin Vickers, Contributor

The number of Hispanics in Nebraska has dramatically increased throughout the years, but within the last year, it has not been increasing like in the past.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha Office of Latino and Latin American Studies (OLLAS) held a study along with the Sherwood Foundation in which over a century of census data from the United States was studied. In this study, it was found that are more than 140,000 residents of Mexican origin in Nebraska in 2012, compared to less than 300 in 1910.
The group wants to point out that the main increase in the Hispanic population was due to the already-present citizens giving birth to children in the states. Most of the current generation are Hispanics, so they will help pave the way throughout the upcoming decades.
On Sept. 23, OLLAS hosted a new Mexican consulate for a student luncheon. Guadalupe Sanchez Salazar is the first woman to speak at this post. She talked to students about her vision for Mexican engagement with UNO and Mexican communities.
The Mexican population represents the youngest portion of Nebraskans, with median age of 22. In 2000, no more than 8 percent wanted an education beyond high school. Now 26 percent of the Hispanic population is seeking education after high school.
In 2012, it is now up to 68 percent stating that their household speaks English, and today up to one third of these households speak only English. The Hispanic unemployment rate is at 9 percent compared to the national 4 percent. The median Hispanic income in Nebraska is $39,587 whereas the nationwide median is $51, 217.
Many UNO Mavericks had input to share on this topic, Hispanic or not, they voiced their opinions.
“Since the Mexican population has become a demographic mark in Nebraska, I’m sure there has been some change, and right now I see Nebraska, growing, especially Omaha. Omaha is growing industrially, spatially and even more so in its population. It’s all going towards a good direction. Mexicans, even if it’s in the workforce or in education, are helping to contribute in this growth and this just proves the power of diversity,” said Yahaira Gonzalez.
“It makes me feel proud that many Hispanics are on campus. You don’t feel like an outcast or out of place because theres someone you can connect with here,” said Daisy Robledo.
“I have plenty of friends of all cultures and I like our diversity. The only thing I wish would happen is that people would quit talking about me in Spanish. I hear my name, but everything else I can’t tell what they are saying,” said Levi Miller.