According to census data, the Hispanic population in Idaho is growing faster than the general population. At 11.5% Hispanics are Idaho’s largest minority group.
Ernesto Moran’s family moved to Idaho in the 1950s.
“They were part of the migration following the crops,” said Ernesto Moran. “They settled in Idaho because Idaho was a good place for them to settle and they told me stories about wanting to settle in California or Michigan, and Idaho just seemed to be the place to be. They were treated well and they are content and happy to be here.”
Ernesto says even though there were more opportunities then, the American dream is still alive in eastern Idaho.
“In our time now, it would have went both ways,” said Moran. “There would have been more opportunities in a lot of given areas like education but I don’t think the job opportunities would there that they received.”
US Census data shows from 2000 to 2010, Idaho's non-Hispanic population only grew by 17 percent, while Idaho's Hispanic population increased by about 73 percent.
In that number, are people like Tomasa Rosales, who moved to the US in 2000.
"It was a necessity; we have a tremendous necessity. We needed to work and so we decided to come over here."
Rosales stayed in Idaho, and is raising her three kids here.
Friday night on KPVI News 6 at 6:00, we'll take a look at how the growing Hispanic population is impacting Idaho schools.
Idaho's Hispanic population is young, and growing. Nearly half of them are under 19 years old.
Their enrollment in public schools is increasing, and fewer and fewer of them are dropping out of high school.
The growing Hispanic community is why Mexico opened its first Idaho consulate in 2008. The Office of the Mexican Consulate in Boise helps Mexicans with things like government paperwork, finding healthcare providers, and assisting in legal matters.
The Boise consulate serves 240 thousand Mexicans in Idaho, Montana, Northern Nevada, and Eastern Oregon.
"It was a total discovery for us to really know that the Mexican population was not a new population living in Idaho, I mean a new wave of incoming population,” said Ricardo Pined, Consul of Mexico. They have been over here since the very beginning, (for) 150 years."
More than 25 percent of the state’s Hispanic population lives in Canyon County. But the county with the largest concentration is on this side of the state. Of the 982 residents in Clark County, 398 are Hispanic. That’s roughly 40.5 percent of their population and that makes them an economic force.
“The purchasing power of the Hispanic community has grown really fast, to the point that today, the Hispanic community has 7 percent of this purchasing power. But not only that, the number of businesses and the growing of those businesses," continued Pineda.
Hispanics are also becoming better represented in government. Since 2009 the number of Hispanic elected officials more than doubled...from 9 to 20...that includes people like US Representative Raul Labrador, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.
As for the future, Pocatello resident, Ernesto Moran sees good things in eastern Idaho.
“I think both sides kind of have to give and take with any given class of people like that,” said Moran. “There’s certainly a lot of room for improvement but I’ve seen a lot of improvement and I think we are headed in the right direction.”
Pineda says 70% of the Hispanic population were born and raised in the US.
Idaho Hispanic Population by County