Experimental count: big gains for Buena Vista Hispanic populations

Wednesday, February 21, 2001

New population estimates combining Census estimates with school enrollment counts and estimates have been released to counties, foreshadowing the Census 2000 raw data to be released next month.

This new type of estimate is being used to gauge the gaining influence of Hispanics residing in Iowa. The demographic change in Buena Vista County, according to the figures released late last week, has been striking.

Buena Vista County may have almost 4,500 Hispanic residents, compared to the 1990 Census count of 160 and the 1999 estimate of just 265, according to a report issued by Iowa State University Census Services.

Local officials feel the estimates in recent years have done poorly in reflecting the growth in Storm Lake are population, particularly among minority residents.

Sandra Burke, who authored the report, admits that 1999 Census estimates may underestimate Iowa's Hispanic population.

"For example, Buena Vista County had 589 Hispanic students enrolled in school in 1999 but the estimate from the Census bureau suggested that the total Hispanic population was 265 that year," the report states.

"These comparisons indicate that relatively rapid change in the Hispanic population is not always captured by the U.S. Bureau of the Census in its estimation procedure," the report continues.

Read the rest of this article in the 2/20 Pilot Tribune.

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