The term Hispanic was created by the U. S. federal government
in the early 1970's in an attempt to provide a common denominator to a large,
but diverse population with connection to the Spanish language or culture from
a Spanish-speaking country. The term Latino reflects the origin of the population
in Latin America and is increasingly gaining acceptance among Hispanics. Both
terms are used throughout this report.
Over the past 30 years, the Hispanic/Latino population in the United States
has exhibited tremendous growth. Hispanics/Latinos comprise about 11% of the
U. S. population, including 3.6 million residing in the Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico. About 31 million individuals identify themselves as Hispanics. Hispanics
are projected to become the largest minority group by the year 2006.
It is anticipated that nationally, the Hispanic/Latino population will increase
by 23% over the next 50 years. As projected nationally, the Hispanic/Latino
population also will be the fastest growing population in the State of South
Carolina. According to Census 2000, Hispanics/Latinos represent
2.36% of the State’s total population of 4,012,012. This represents
a 211.7% increase over the 1990 Census figures for this group. This trend
is expected to continue.
Note the statistics below:
- The five counties with the largest numbers of Hispanics/Latinos
are Greenville County with 14,283; Richland County with 8,713; Beaufort
County with 8,208; Charleston County with 7,434 and Spartanburg
County with 7,081.
- The five counties with the highest percentages of Hispanics/Latinos
are Saluda County with 7.3%; Beaufort County with 6.8%; Jasper
County with 5.8%; Newberry County with 4.2% and Greenville
County with 3.8%.
- Jasper County had the greatest percentage change in its
Hispanic/Latino population at 1,624.6%, (from 69 persons in 1990 to 1,190
persons in 2000).
With the increased numbers of Hispanics/Latinos in the State, there are increasing
demands for specific services to meet the unique needs of this population. In
order to meet those needs in a timely and efficient manner, the State must
identify barriers in the current service system that hamper the delivery of
good health care, public education and other vital services. This report
attempts to identify some of the barriers and makes recommendations to
assist South Carolina’s transition to a multi-cultural and linguistically
appropriate service delivery system.
Many of the recommendations will not be easy to implement because of the overall
perception that most Hispanic/Latino persons are in the country and state illegally;
therefore, they are not entitled to the same services and rights as U.S. citizens
and state residents. However, the 2000 Census recorded 95,076 persons
of Hispanic origin in the state. Since undocumented immigrants tended
to shy away from the Census count, the majority of these individuals are presumed
to be of legal status. Therefore, as this legal population continues
to grow, so will their unique service needs.