PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - One out of every five residents of Palm Beach County is Hispanic. That's according to the newly released figures from the U.S. Census, based on population estimates from 2011 to 2014.
Of the approximately 77,576 residents that moved to Palm Beach County within the four-year period, close to 39,000 of them were Hispanics, said the Census.
The new figures show that Hispanics are now the largest ethnic minority in Palm Beach County, surpassing the African-American population by 27,402.
“We (Hispanics) are not as seasonal as the rest of the population,” said Daniel Martell, president and CEO of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County. “We find where we want to live and we make it our home.”
Unlike the non-Hispanic white population, comprised of a large number of snow birds, Martell, a Cuban-American, said ”the money that we (Hispanics) spend, stays in this community year-round.”
Also, Hispanics on average have larger families, including having extended family members such as grandparents living in the same household. They also spend more on items such as food and clothing than the average non-Hispanic household.
The increase in the number of Hispanics impacts all areas of life in the county -- from the school system to service organizations.
According to Kathy Burstein, media relations specialists for the School District of Palm Beach County, three out of every 10 students enrolled in schools in the 2014-2015 academic year, were Hispanics. That represents an “average two-year growth rate of more than 2,604 students per year,” said Burstein.
The figure includes all county schools, including charter schools as well as students enrolled in alternative education.
Patrick J. Franklin, president and CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County, said that his agency has seen a tremendous increase in the number of Hispanics it serves.
“Our Hispanic numbers have been growing on an annual basis and they now account for 8 percent to 10 percent of the people we serve,” said Franklin.
Franklin said that the numbers doubled from 2010.
The Urban League is one of the county's leading provider of family services and in 2015 is expected to serve more than 16,000 people, mostly African-Americans, he said.
And Palm Beach County is not alone. The Hispanic population of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties grew anywhere from one in nine in Indian River to one in four in Okeechobee County.