Mesa, Arizona: Examining the Impact of the Hispanic Community
Mesa, a city located in Maricopa County, Arizona, has a diverse population with the Hispanic community being one of the largest ethnic groups. Examining the demographics of Mesa can provide insights into the city’s cultural and economic landscape. In this article, we will explore the extent of Hispanic presence in Mesa and its impact on the city.
Hispanic Population in Mesa
According to data from the 2019 United States Census Bureau, the estimated population of Mesa is 518,012. Of that population, 29.4% identified as Hispanic or Latino, accounting for 152,271 people. It is noteworthy that the Hispanic community in Mesa is significantly larger than the national average, where Hispanics account for about 18.5% of the population.
The Hispanic population in Mesa is mostly of Mexican origin, accounting for nearly 94% of the community. This is largely because, historically, Mexican immigrants have been drawn to the state of Arizona for employment opportunities and better living conditions. As a result, the Mexican influence has permeated into central Arizona’s culture, and that is evident in Mesa, which is a prime example of this rich cultural heritage.
Impact of the Hispanic Community on Mesa
The Hispanic community has had a significant influence on Mesa’s social and economic landscape. The majority of Hispanic residents in Mesa are of working age, which means they are actively contributing to the economy. The community’s entrepreneurial spirit is also on display in Mesa, as many residents own small businesses that cater to the needs of the community.
The Hispanic community’s influence extends to lifestyle and culture as well. The more significant majority of the original Mexican immigrants were Catholic, which is the predominant religion in Mesa. The Hispanic residents have also made some significant contributions to Mesa’s food and culture. Mexican cuisine is an essential part of Arizona’s culinary heritage, and it has become a staple of the Mesa food landscape.
Challenges Faced by the Hispanic Community in Mesa
While the Hispanic community has had a significant impact on Mesa, it is important to note that there are still obstacles they face. The lack of access to quality education is one of the significant barriers to upward mobility in the Hispanic community. Arizona ranks 49th in the country for education, and studies show that Hispanic students are disproportionately affected by lack of educational opportunities.
Another issue that affects the Hispanic community is the language barrier. According to data from the United States Census Bureau, around 30% of Mesa’s Hispanic community is limited in English proficiency. This can have a significant impact on accessing healthcare, employment opportunities, and interacting with government agencies.
Anti-Immigrant Sentiment and Policies
While the Hispanic community’s presence in Mesa is thriving, there are valid concerns about how the community’s values and culture will be affected by more potent outside forces. Anti-immigrant sentiment and policies have been on the rise in Arizona, and it is essential not to overlook the impact this has on the Hispanic community. Policies targeting undocumented immigrants can not only hamper the community’s growth but also create fear and mistrust within the population.
In conclusion, Mesa’s Hispanic community has become an integral part of the city’s culture and economy. It is evident in the language, food, and music that has become a defining characteristic of Mesa. However, there are significant challenges the community faces, including lack of education and language barriers. It is incumbent upon the city and the state to invest in the community’s future to ensure their continued growth and success. This involves providing education and workforce training, language assistance, and access to healthcare and social services. By addressing these challenges, Mesa can continue to prosper as a diverse and inclusive city.