Tampa Bay area's Hispanic population is growing
TAMPA - The minority population in the Tampa Bay area grew tremendously in the past decade, with Hispanics leading the way, according to recently released census estimates.
The numbers, pegged to July 1, 2009, show the counties of West Central Florida became more diverse as they grew over the course of the last decade. In many cases, minority groups grew several times faster than the general population.
Historically, the Tampa Bay region has had the lowest proportion of minorities of any region in the state. For decades, the large number of retirees in the region helped make West Central Florida one of the whitest parts of the state, said demographer Stan Smith with the state's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
That hasn't changed, but Hispanics and other minority groups have become a larger share of the population. Pasco had the largest growth in minorities in the whole state for the decade since the 2000 census -- 181 percent. Talking about the growth of the local Hispanic population, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are up more than 50 percent, Pasco is up 164 percent, Polk up 102 percent.