by Victor Lopez
Hispanics made up two-thirds of the major population explosion in the state over the last 10 years. Some West Texas counties are contributing and sharing in that growth.
According to census figures, Ector and Midland Counties have the largest populations in the Permian Basin with over 135,000 each. Howard, Andrews, Reeves and Pecos Counties report populations from around 14,000 to just over 35,000.
Hispanic leaders in the area say the 2010 census confirmed what they already knew five years ago. The Latino population is growing and steps need to be taken, on a state wide level, to help those areas that need it most.
"We need to prepare our leaders to assume leadership roles. There needs to be a focus on education, making sure we're keeping Latinos in school and that we're also focusing on financial education, making sure all of the Hispanic population is financially literate," Art Leal, Community Organizer for Una Voz Unida of Odessa, said.
Leal says given the population increase among Hispanics and blacks, Texas is now a majority-minority state. That simply means, the minority population is now larger than the white population, which according to the census, is at 45.3 percent.