By the time a baby born today graduates from high school, whites will no
longer be the majority demographic group in Forsyth County, N.C., and Hispanics will
replace blacks as the largest minority, according to a demographic report from
Winston-Salem State University.
By 2030, Forsyth is projected to have about 469,000 people, up from nearly 351,000 in 2010, according to the report.
Hispanics will make up about 27 percent of the county's population by that year, blacks will make up 23 percent and whites will make up 45 percent, according to the report, which uses a prediction method based on U.S. Census figures and a demographic software program known as Regional Economic Modeling Inc., or REMI.
"The largest difference is that 20 years from now, there will be 3 percent more whites, 19 percent more blacks (and) a tripling of Hispanics," Craig Richardson, the director of the university's Center for Economic Analysis, said in the report.
Among the other key findings are predictions on how soon some of the changes will take place. Whites will no longer be the majority demographic group in 10 years, a wide shift from their proportionately dominant 73 percent in 1990. In 15 years, he said, Hispanics will replace blacks as the largest minority.
Mayor Allen Joines said he is open to the changes.
"The city is becoming more diverse, more interesting, perhaps," Joines said. "I think we have to continue to articulate the fact that we are a diverse community and that we all need to learn more about each other's culture and learn to respect each other's culture and go from there."
Dayenin Arellano, 35, a married mother of three, is part of the Hispanic population boom.
Her journey from a war-torn Central American country to New York to Winston-Salem sheds light on why the number of Hispanics in Forsyth has increased at such a sharper rate than that of blacks or whites. Calamity, family ties and the pursuit of a better life are frequently the main drivers.
Arellano was born in Nicaragua in 1976.
When she was almost 3, a civil war started -- and later made its way into U.S. consciousness during President Ronald Reagan's administration. One of the war's well-known episodes is Lt. Col. Oliver North's role in the sale of arms to Iran to help fund the "contra" rebels' attempt to topple the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
Ocotal, the town of about 30,000 people where Arellano was raised, was the center of frequent skirmishes during the war.
In 1983, when Arellano was 7, Ocotal was the scene of fierce fighting for months between troops loyal to the government and the U.S.-backed rebels. In 1985, when she was 9, an unidentified attacker threw a hand grenade onto a crowded dance floor during a student party. Seven people were killed and 35 wounded, according to The New York Times.
To this day, the effects of the war stay with Arellano. She can't sleep in a room by herself. A siren from a passing ambulance can fill her with anxiety, she said.
"I remember, while we were in school, all of sudden the sirens would ring out. But they weren't drills. They were for real. We were little. The first instinct you have is to run to your family. But we had underground shelters in
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