Through the Public Insight Network, MPR News collected the stories of over 125 Latinos in Minnesota who trace their roots back to 17 different countries.
The demographics of Minnesota are changing and the growing Latino community is an important part of that change. The first wave of Latino migration to Minnesota began in the early 1900s, when migrant workers from Mexico would came to the state to work in factories and in farm fields. Some of these workers moved on, but some stayed, many settling on St. Paul’s West Side.
More recently, Latinos have been the fastest growing group in Minnesota for the past decade, establishing thriving communities throughout the Twin Cities metro area and in greater Minnesota. As of July 2012, the Latino population had grown by 85 percent since 2000 to a total of 264,359, according to U.S. Census data. Looking at the youngest generation the trend seems likely to continue. Latinos make up 8.3 percent of Minnesotans under 18, making Latinos the largest minority group in that age group.
Some of the respondents’ families have been in Minnesota for generations, while others have arrived in the past few years. Some came to the state as migrant workers, others as professionals.Their stories make it clear that there is not a universal take on what it means to be Latino — or Hispanic or Chicano — in Minnesota. But the stories do have one thing in common: Whether the respondents or their ancestors came to the state for work, love, or education, Minnesota is now home.
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