Hispanic population increases in Barren County and Butler County Kentucky


The Associated Press

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Recent data shows that the Hispanic population in the Barren River region has grown by nearly 10 percent in two years.

The Daily News (http://bit.ly/17b9PRX) reports the region saw an increase of 9.57 percent from the 2010 census through July 2012, with the highest increase in Butler County, where the Hispanic population increased by 30 percent to 420 people.

Warren County, which saw a 10.3 percent increase, has the largest total number of Hispanic residents in the region with 5,709.

The changing population has led to changes within the communities, especially with churches adding Hispanic services or ministries.

In addition, the city of Bowling Green hired Leyda Becker as full-time community services specialist/international communities liaison last year. Becker says the city’s growing Hispanic population was the primary reason for the position.

“They wanted someone who is fluent in Spanish and English,” she said. “That is the predominant language of the international community.”

She says the city uses translation services and has a language line available for other languages.

“I know that in the 2010 census, 6.5 percent of the total foreign-born population was Hispanic,” Becker said. “We always felt that the census numbers were under-represented because Hispanics can be of any race.”

The aim of her job is to make sure all residents, regardless of their background, are able to access city services and resources. Due to her job, she has partnered with a local radio station to begin the city’s first Spanish-only program which runs on Sunday afternoons.

“I host a segment where we feature city services and community information,” Becker said. “I’ve really seen a connection with the radio show and people accessing services. It also has given businesses a chance to advertise (to the Hispanic community).”

She also facilitates the Amigos Resource Network where people, groups or agencies can go for help in getting information out to the Hispanic community.

“People can send me information in English, and I will translate it into Spanish,” she said. “The number of people inquiring about city services has increased drastically since this position was established.”

Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/06/23/2689376/hispanic-population-rises-in-barren.html#storylink=cpy

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