According to 2007 population estimates released this morning, the Hispanic population of Hamilton County and the surrounding 20 counties has grown almost 60 percent since 2000, compared to 5 percent growth in non-Hispanic groups.
Here's how the region is adapting:
Responding to that trend, Erlanger [Health System] has introduced bilingual patient guides, patient’s rights forms and elevator signs, as well as adding interpreters to the staff, she said.
Other organizations and institutions are addressing the Hispanic growth as well, according to Ms. [Mirtha] Jones [director of Plaza Comunitaria].
“Nearly everywhere you go the signs are bilingual,” she said. “It’s more visible than it was five years ago.”
Dr. [Douglas] Bachtel [a demographer at the University of Georgia] said churches, public safety departments and businesses eventually must take notice of growing Hispanic populations. Law enforcement agencies across the South are recruiting Spanish-speaking officers, and many churches offer Spanish services or ministries, he said.No mention of English-only ballot measures.