The Washington Post

Hispanic enrollment is booming in the Las Vegas region

On Friday, Nevada’s Clark County School District — the Las Vegas area — conducted its annual student headcount and the results reflect a nationwide trend.

Hispanic students accounted for 44 percent of the student population, with whites trailing at 29 percent and blacks at 12 percent, according to county statistics that has yet to be certified by the state and was shared with The Post. The Hispanic student population is growing at twice the rate that the Caucasian population is shrinking, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. It’s a record-year for the nation’s fifth largest school district, which says it now has more than 315,000 students.

The news may not come as a huge surprise. Nevada is, after all, home to the fifth largest Hispanic population as a share of total residents. Hispanics currently make up 27 percent of the population and are predicted to grow to 45 percent, according to the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. But Clark County reflects a broad demographic shift.

In January, the National Center for Education Statistics predicted that the Hispanic share of the national student population—elementary and secondary—would grow from 23.1 percent in the fall of 2010 to 26.7 percent in the fall of 2021. That represents a nearly 10 percentage point increase over 20 years. (In other words, in 2001 Hispanics accounted for slightly more than one in six students. By 2021, they’re expected to account for more than one in four.)

A Census report released earlier this month found that in 2011, the latest year for which information was available, Hispanics accounted for more than 40 percent of the elementary and high school student population in five southwestern states, the leaders in what has been and will be a nationwide trend of growth.

“Changes in the race and Hispanic origin of student populations across all levels of enrollment share a similar pattern, which is that the proportion of students who are non-Hispanic White students has decreased while the proportion who are Hispanic student has been on the rise,” the Census reported.

As headcounts continue to roll in, they’re likely to look more and more like that of Clark County.

Hispanic school enrollment, 2011. (Source: Census.)
Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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