News Column

Oklahoma's Hispanic, Asian Populations Increase

June 14, 2013

Juvenal Saldivar came to Tulsa from California in 1997 as his family -- which had been spread out in various states -- regrouped to make Tulsa their home.

Saldivar later opened up a business which saw success, so he opened another. And another.

El Bazaar, a mall that houses 48 spaces for rent so others can also start their own businesses, opened in April in the heart of Tulsa's Hispanic community at 21st Street and Garnett Road.

"It's not just one person starting a business," Saldivar said about opening the mall and the new business owners. "It's a group of community leaders. (Most of the new shop owners) wouldn't be able to do it. This opens a window for them."

Saldivar and those community leaders and business owners are part of a steady increase in Tulsa's Hispanic population, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

The Hispanic population grew at a steady pace in Oklahoma for the second consecutive year, while Hispanic growth in Tulsa County showed signs of resurgence, according to the Census data.

Meanwhile, other Census data indicates that the state's Asian population, while smaller in numbers, followed a nationwide trend by growing at a faster pace than Hispanics and other major races and ethnic groups.

The state Asian population grew 3.9 percent to 70,069 people from 2011 to 2012, according to Census Bureau estimates.

Nationwide, the Asian population was the fastest growing race or ethnic group, rising 2.9 percent from the preceding year.

The Census Bureau released the figures as part of the annual population estimates by race, Hispanic origin, age and sex. The figures examine population change at the national, state and county level between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012.

The estimates depict the Hispanic population in the state continuing to increase for the second consecutive year by 3.3 percent. Some 11,392 Hispanics were added to the state population during the year ending July 1, 2012.

In Tulsa County, the Hispanic population was 70,124, which was an increase of 1,329 people, or 1.9 percent, up from the 1.7 percent annual increase the prior year.

As with the national trend, the Asian population in the state and Tulsa County grew at a faster rate than other major races and ethnic groups.

In Oklahoma, the Asian population increased 3.9 percent to 70,069 people.

Among other races and ethnic groups, only the Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders -- which comprise less than 1 percent of the state population -- grew at a faster rate, or 7.8 percent

In Tulsa County, the Asian population grew by 4.5 percent during the past year to 15,183 people.

White, non-Hispanics continue to be the majority race or ethnic group in the state, numbering 2,588,845, or 67.9 percent of the total population.

The state, white, non-Hispanic population grew by 0.2 percent from 2011 to 2012.

In Tulsa County, the non-Hispanic white population increased by 0.5 percent to 396,480 people. Non-Hispanic whites comprise 64.6 percent of the Tulsa County population.

Statewide as well as in Tulsa County, Hispanics continue to be second-largest race or ethnic group. Hispanics make up 9.3 percent of the statewide population and 11.4 percent of the population in Tulsa County.

The Census Bureau estimated the American Indian population in Oklahoma at 313,601, or 8.2 percent of the total state population. The American Indian population in Tulsa County grew by 1.6 percent to 35,573 and comprises 7.1 percent of the county population.

The black population grew by 1.1 percent statewide and 0.4 percent in Tulsa County. Blacks were the third largest race or ethnic group in Tulsa County, numbering 64,210 people or 10.5 percent of the population.

In the year ending July 2012, 3,803 additional residents were added to the Tulsa County population due to natural change, the difference between the number of births and deaths, while 1,833 new residents were due to migration from outside the county and state.

Jan Figart, associate director of Tulsa's Community Service Council, said the Hispanic population growth is due to a more stable community and family growth.

"Overall, we are seeing a stabilization -- if not regression -- of new families in the Tulsa area and see predominantly family growth," Figart said. "This is true in Tulsa County, Oklahoma and in most areas of the U.S."

Of those migrating to Tulsa County from other areas in the past year, about half, or 939, came from outside the U.S., while 894 came from other states or U.S. territories.

Figart said the economic recession decreased the number of undocumented immigrants to the U.S. because jobs became more scarce. Higher deportation rates from President Barack Obama's administration also factored into population growth through births and families.

Saldivar, 33, said he sees the growth coming from families and young people who come to his mall to shop. "More families have come here to make Tulsa home," he said. "The biggest growth is families."

Saldivar, who employs his nieces, nephews, sisters and other family members, is expecting his first child with his wife, who is about two months pregnant, he said.

Elsewhere in the state, the year ending July 2012 marked a milestone for two other Oklahoma counties.

Cherokee County and Texas County joined Adair County as majority minority counties, a term used to designate areas where the combined population of minorities outnumber the white, non-Hispanic population.

In Cherokee County, white, non-Hispanics comprised 49.9 percent of the total population. About one-third of the Cherokee County population was American Indians.

In the Panhandle, non- Hispanic whites made up 48.6 percent of the population in Texas County. Hispanics led all minority groups, comprising 45 percent of the total population in Texas County.

Population change by race, ethnic group

Oklahoma 2011 2012 % change

Total population 3,784,163 3,814,820 +0.8%

White* 2,582,969 2,588,845 +0.2%

Black* 276,578 279,507 +1.1%

Am. Indian* 311,892 313,601 +0.5%

Asian* 67,455 70,069 +3.9%

Other* 4,265 4,596 +7.8%

Two or more races* 196,096 201,902 +3%

Hispanic 344,908 356,300 +3.3%


Tulsa County 2011 2012 % change

Total population 608,205 613,816 +0.9%

White* 394,652 396,480 +0.5%

Black* 63,982 64,210 +0.4%

Am. Indian* 35,027 35,573 +1.6%

Asian* 14,525 15,183 +4.5%

Other* 441 503 +14.1%

Two or more races* 30,783 31,743 +3.1%

Hispanic 68,795 70,124 +1.9%


Hispanic population outside of Tulsa County

County 2012 % change

Creek 2,510 +5.9%

Muskogee 3,880 +2.2%

Oklahoma 116,932 +3.2%

Okmulgee 1,373 -2.3%

Osage 1,490 +5.5%

Pawnee 405 -1.7%

Rogers 3,554 +4.6%

Wagoner 3,861 +6.3%

Washington 2,800 +3.7%

Source: (c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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