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Growth of Marin Latino population quantifies need for shift – Marin Independent Journal

By September 12, 2021COVID-19

The U.S. Census Bureau’s reflection of continued growth by Marin’s Latino population comes as no surprise.

That trend has been rising for three decades and, today, many of the Latinos who came to Marin for jobs or to escape conditions in their native lands could be considered longtime residents who are growing their families in our — their — county.

Unfortunately, as a segment of our community, many Latino households continue to struggle to live in high-priced Marin. The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on those challenges.

The percentage of cases in Latino households was significantly greater than its share of Marin’s population. Officials surmised that it was the result of people living in crowded conditions and that many Latinos were filling those designated “essential” service jobs across Marin, increasing their risk of contracting the virus and spreading it.

That’s why Marin public health and community service agencies have focused their push to get people vaccinated in minority communities, where inoculation rates are lagging. That effort has paid off, raising Marin’s vaccination rate to about 96%, an impressive number that is largely responsible for a lower rate of variant cases.

The new census numbers show that Marin’s Latino population has grown to 18.8% of the county’s population, just about 50,000 of Marin’s population of approximately 262,000 people. That is a 26.5% increase since the 2010 census. And there is speculation that those numbers may fall short of the true number because many households, despite success realized from extensive community outreach efforts, were missed in the headcount.

Leaders of that outreach deserve credit. The so-called “trusted messenger” approach to reach more people was proven successful. But those leaders say the prior White House administration’s anti-immigrant politics and questions about citizenship raised fear of taking part in a governmental program among the Latino immigrant community.

Still, the outreach helped show the increase in Marin’s Latino population that’s taking place.

It is similar to an increase reflected statewide and nationwide.

For Marin, it is a reflection that also underscores the importance of addressing the needs of that population, particularly in helping them in the struggle to afford living here.

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