Note: Image from 2109 Atlantic City Latino Festival. Photo courtesy of Hispanic Association of Atlantic County
By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
TRENTON – Latinos celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month starting Wednesday (Sept. 15) through Oct. 15 with new U.S. Census figures showing a huge increase in their population in New Jersey.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually at this time to honor the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans rooted in all Latin American countries.
According to new census figures recently released, the Hispanic population statewide has grown to 21.6% of the total population, an increase from 17.7% in 2010. Latinos can be members of any race.
Those who identify themselves as White dropped to 55% from 68.6% in 2010, down 15.2%. Those who category themselves as African American increased slightly from 13.1% in 2010 to 13.7% in 2020.
New Jersey's population, overall grew to 9.2 million, of 4.5% since the last census, beating all estimates while allowing the state to keep all 12 of its Congressional seats. The state can thank Latinos for that, who made up half of the state's population growth.
Carlos Medina, the CEO of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, told ROI-NJ.com, on Aug. 13 that companies need to start recognizing the growing power of the Hispanic community in the state.
"If you're a smart organization or a smart company, you're going to make sure that your board of directors reflects your customers," Medina told ROI-NJ. "Latinos now make up at least 21% of the population in the state — you're going to want to make sure your board reflects that.
"But, it's more than that. You're going to want to make sure your C-suite and your vendors look like that demographic, too. Unfortunately, too many corporations in New Jersey ignore this. And it just boggles my mind. They keep making this mistake, especially when it comes to how they approach their advertising."
The growth of the Latino community will be on exhibit in South Jersey later in September. Atlantic City will hold its annual Latino Festival at Bader Field on Saturday, Sept. 25, one of the largest festivals of its kind in the state.
While the concern was not held last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, it drew more than 7,000 the year before with some estimating it could reach as many as 10,000 this year.
On Sunday, Sept. 26, Millville will hold its first-ever Hispanic Parade in Celebration downtown. The highly anticipated event is expected to draw a large crowd from neighboring Vineland, the city with one of the largest Latino populations in the state, and throughout neighboring counties like Cape May, Salem and Gloucester.
Hispanics make up 34.4% of the population in Cumberland County, the third-highest percent than any county in New Jersey. Hispanics make up 42.7% of the population in Passaic County and 40.4% of the population in Hudson County.
Here are the latest Census figures in how the Hispanic population fares in other South Jersey counties, according to NJ Spotlight.com:
Atlantic County: White 54.2%, Hispanic 19.6%, African-American 14.2%
Burlington County: White 63.8%, African American 16.2%, Hispanic 8.7%
Camden County: White 53.3%, African American 18.2%, Hispanic 18.2%
Cape May County: White 84%, Hispanic 7.8%, African American 3.5%
Cumberland County: White 42.7%, Hispanic 34.4%, African American 17.1%
Gloucester County: White 74.5%, African Americans 10.4%, Hispanic 7.3%
Salem County: White 69.8%, African American 14%, Hispanic 10.1%
QUESTION: Will you be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month? Why or why not? Answer in the comments section.
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