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Hispanic population in Prince George's doubles, fueling much of county's growth

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 9, 2011; 8:17 PM

The Hispanic population in Prince George's County nearly doubled over the past 10 years, fueling much of the locality's growth and matching the number of whites for the first time, according to new census figures released Wednesday.

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The percentage of African Americans remained steady in the majority-black county, and the percentage of whites continued to tumble, although at a slightly slower pace than in the previous decade.

Although its population grew more slowly than those of neighboring counties, Prince George's holds firm to its position as the second-largest jurisdiction in Maryland, with more than 863,000 residents.

The growth in the county's Hispanic population, which increased from about 57,000 in 2000 to nearly 129,000 last year, could have broad implications for the county government and the school system, which is majority African American.

"When I was in school, there were maybe two or three Latinos in the classroom, including myself," said County Council member Will Campos (D-Hyattsville), a native of El Salvador who arrived in the area when he was in the third grade. "Now I go into those classrooms, and they are mostly Latino kids."

In Hyattsville, one of the largest communities in his district, the Hispanic population doubled, growing by nearly 3,000 residents. By comparison, the white, black and Asian American populations all declined to varying degrees in the city.

Similarly, in Langley Park, a multiethnic community on the border of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, the Hispanic population grew from almost 11,000 in 2000 to more than 14,000 last year.

In southern Prince George's, Fort Washington remained a center for almost 17,000 African Americans. The number of Hispanics tripled to 1,565, and the number of whites fell to 2,700.

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