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Thursday, April 7, 2011

As local Hispanic population triples, counties and schools face increased need for language services

Written by Chad Daily
Wassau Daily Herald

Like many of her neighbors, Joselyn Julio wishes for a shorter central Wisconsin winter and more entertainment for young adults.

But for now, the 20-year-old Julio, born in the coastal Mexican state of Veracruz, doesn't want to live anywhere else. She and her family own and operate 3 Hermanos, a Wausau grocery store they opened in November 2009.

"I really like it, except that there's not a lot to do," she said with a laugh. "But it's really calm here, and it's a good place to live."

Thousands of Latinos and other Hispanics would agree.

Ten years ago, nearly 1,000 Hispanic people lived and worked in Marathon County. The population tripled to about 3,000 residents in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Lincoln County also experienced an increase during the past decade, from 243 Hispanic residents to 340 in 2010, according to the census.

Both counties mirror a statewide increase of Hispanics and Latinos from almost 193,000 in 2000 to more than 336,000 in 2010, a 74 percent increase and 6 percent of the state's residents.

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