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Chautauqua County ranks 34th among New York counties in terms of the percentage of its population identifying itself as a race or a racial mixture other than White. The counties ranking ahead of Chautauqua are generally part of the New York City metropolitan area, surrounding counties, and counties containing large cities, such as Onondaga (Syracuse), Erie (Buffalo), etc.
The largest proportion of the county's Hispanic/Latino population is Puerto Rican. Historically, there has been a strong migrant worker component to the population as a result of the area's rich agricultural and grape growing industry. The majority of the migrant population originates from Mexico. Two Seneca Nation reservations are also in the region, resulting in a small but strong Native American presence. Additional immigrants have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in Chautauqua County in the last decade (Source: Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. Community Assessment 2001). There are also several long established Amish communities in the county.
A) Population and Population Projections by Race
The following table summarizes the racial distribution of the county's population.
Chautauqua County 2000 by Race
As this table indicates, 93.92% of the population is White, while 6.08% belongs to one of the other racial categories listed. The largest racial minority in the county, representing 2.17% of the population, is "Black alone." A total of 3.1% selects "some other race alone" or "two or more races" to identify their racial membership. (In the past census, numerous Hispanics categorized themselves as in an "other race.") The next largest category is two or more races. Native Americans, Asians, and Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders constitute less than one percent each (NEW YORK COUNTIES BY RACE).
Estimated population change by race for Chautauqua County as of July 2002 forecasts changes in these numbers.
Estimated changes for all New York counties as of July 2002 are also available (NEW YORK POPULATION ESTIMATES BY RACE AND ETHNICITY JULY 2002).
The racial distribution of the populations of all areas within the county is outlined in the following tables. The first table shows the distribution of races throughout the county, and the second table breaks down specific locations by race.
B) Population and Population Projections by Hispanic/Latino Ethnicity
Based on the 2000 Census, Chautauqua County has the 18th highest percentage of Hispanic or Latino residents in the state, and ranks 20th in the number of Hispanic or Latino residents residing in the county. While Chautauqua is not particularly racially diverse considering its size, it is quite divers with respect to Hispanic ethnicity(NEW YORK COUNTIES HISPANIC OR LATINO POPULATION).
The most significant population change on the basis of race or ethnicity involves the growth of the Hispanic /Latino population of Chautauqua County, which increased 42.41% from 4098 in the 1990 census to 5836 in the 2000 census, and was projected to grow and additional 13.26% to 6610 by July of 2002, as the following table indicates.
Using these projected figures, 90% of the Hispanic/Latino population identifies itself as "White alone." Estimated changes in the Hispanic/Latino population for all New York counties as of July 2002 are also available (NEW YORK POPULATION ESTIMATES BY RACE AND ETHNICITY JULY 2002).
The Hispanic/Latino population of specific county locations is presented in the following table.
Seventy percent of the Hispanic/Latino population lives in Dunkirk (45% or 2624 individuals), and Jamestown (25% or 1473 individuals), however there is Hispanic/Latino representation in most other locations throughout the county.
C) Language Proficiency
Language difficulties can interfere with health knowledge, health education, and service delivery. As the following table indicates, a total of 5015 persons, or 3.8% of the population 5 and over, speak Spanish at home. Of this number, 15% speak English "not well," and 5.8% do not speak English at all.
In the 5-17 age group, 14.6% speak English not well or not at all, and the percentage rises to 22.4% for the 18-64 age group, and 35.3% in the 65 and over group.
Further details on English language proficiency and breakdowns by Chautauqua County locations are available.(ABILITY TO SPEAK ENGLISH)
Minority status and racial and ethnic heritage are linked to a number of health risks and chronic diseases examined in Sections II and III of this assessment. Knowledge of the projected growth of minority groups and of their distribution among locations in the county is relevant to health care planning and delivery. Considering that just over 20% of the Hispanic population speaks English "not well" or "not at all," language difficulties need to be taken into account in public education efforts and in all written and verbal exchanges with Hispanic community members.