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Hispanics Living in Alabama
The United States has a large number of minority groups and the largest among them are the Hispanic population. According to the latest census, the Hispanic population in Alabama now number 75,830. The census authorities in U.S. had coined the term 'Hispanic' to denote specifically the people from 22 countries in Latin America, and living in the United States. The growth of population in this community has been very high during the last ten years - a growth of 247 per cent. They constitute a large consumer market worth $685 million annually, and contribute $251 million to the state and local authorities in taxes. It is obvious that the large growth is due to the classic reasons for migration - poverty. They had an expectation of a new and better life in the United States when they first set foot on U.S. soil.
Of all industries in the U.S., agriculture and construction employ the highest proportions of Hispanic workers - as much as 16 per cent of all workers in the construction industry are Hispanic, according to information from the Center to Protect Worker's Rights. Hispanics constitute as much as 80 per cent of all migrant farm workers. The total number of migrant farm workers, including their dependents constitutes of as many as 3 to 5 million people according to information available from the Migrant Legal Action Program. The Hispanic community has a presence in all parts of the country, but the greatest numbers are present in the South and, among the states, Georgia has been picking up the largest numbers. Their growth in that state was 16.8% from 2000 to 2002, as per the figures available with the Census Bureau. Six of the ten states with the largest number of Hispanics are in the South - Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama. There has been a great demand for manual laborers in this area from the different industries like agriculture, construction, textiles, janitorial, etc. And the Hispanics have rushed in to fill up the gap. There have been increased expansions in the Southeast, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia over the last five years. Bogie, (Donald, 2000)
On July 1st, Alabama had 39,304 persons with a Hispanic origin as per the estimates of population of the Bureau of the Census. These are official estimates, but it is felt by most that these figures are very low. These estimates for 1997 show an increase of 14, 675 over the number of 24,629 physically counted in the 1990 census in Alabama. The increase in numbers denote an apparent growth of 59.6% in the intervening period, and the Hispanics today make up a little less than 1% of the population of the state, whereas they were only 0.6% of the population in 1990. The population of the state of Alabama today is 4,319,154 persons. The emigration has primarily come from Mexico and Guatemala. The population is also shifting into the rural areas from the urban areas where they find the conditions to be similar to their home countries. They work in the urban areas, but they certainly prefer to live in the rural areas. In certain parts of the state, they make up as much as 90 per cent of the total population. There has been a significant influx of these people in almost all the counties in the state during the 1990s. (Donald, 2000)
The Hispanics in the state are mainly employed in the poultry industry and such other similar agricultural occupations. There are also quite a few in textiles, construction industry and the food service industry. There have also been concentrations of Hispanics in specific industries in some counties - like the poultry industry in some counties. The employers have in general found the Hispanic population to be dedicated and hard working, and ready to take up mostly unwanted jobs. In the state, there are ten counties where they constitute more than 1 per cent of the population - Autauga with 1.1%, Baldwin with 1.6 per cent, Blount with 1.2 per cent, Calhoun with 1.6 per cent, Coffee with 1.8 per cent, Dale with 3.7 per cent, Madison with 1.9 per cent, Mobile with 1.2 per cent, Montgomery with 1.1 per cent and Russell with 1.0 per cent. Compared to the growths in some counties, other counties have seen very little growth, and several of the counties have less than a 100 Hispanics. There are 28 counties in Alabama, which contain 81 per cent of the state's Hispanic population. A lot of Hispanics, 10,284 of them are concentrated in Jefferson County and these numbers are about 1.6 per cent of the population in the county. There have also been very high increases in the Deep South metro areas like Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, Greensboro-Winston Salem- High Point, Atlanta etc. which have experienced 300 to 600 per cent increases in the Hispanic population during the period after 1990. These metros have very large populations of Hispanics, which are tens of thousands higher than Birmingham. Thus today Alabama has more of Hispanics than American Indians, or the combined population of Asians and Pacific islanders.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had the responsibility to control the diseases of various types prevalent among the Hispanics, and was to assume the leading responsibility. The growing international problems posed by tuberculosis, AIDS and other diseases and the impact of the continuous existence of these diseases on the Hispanics was realized by WHO. It put forward a goal to encourage the right type of public agencies to implement the cost effective strategies in support of the goals set by it, as also implement the programs decided by it so that the disease could be eradicated among the Hispanics. The organization also encouraged the U.S. government to invest its time and money in the total removal of some diseases to which the Hispanic community seems susceptible, and for this purpose it called upon the President of the United States for a commitment towards the goal set by the World Health Organization.
One of the effects of this Hispanic immigration has been with regard to the HIV / AIDS epidemic and it was realized by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the population of the Hispanic community was being affected in much larger proportions than the general population. Special steps were then taken to stop this trend. CDC is now providing $253 million of funding to the state and local health departments for the prevention of HIV. From December 1993, CDC had started getting directly involved with the methods of utilization of these funds by the communities involved. This process is called HIV Prevention Community Planning and the health departments are compelled to set up priorities together with the health department staff, representatives of the affected populations, epidemiologists, behavioral scientists, service providers and different other community members in a group to meet the needs of the community affected. This helps the program to become relevant and useful to the communities and also address their epidemic prevention needs. (Impact of HIV / AIDS on Hispanics in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
CDC has determined the ratio of these funds reaching the minority population through its recent assessments. Though not all the programs have different race targets, it has been noted that a large portion of these funds are being used for the counseling, testing and risk reduction programs among the Hispanics. Among all the programs specifically targeted to a racial or ethnic group, from the $143 million, it is seen that 22 per cent or $31.4 million are being targeted to the Hispanics. CDC has further increased this by another $4 million in the fiscal year 1998 for specific community-based HIV prevention activities, which are aimed at African-American and Hispanic groups. CDC also provided an additional $9.5 million to help the National and Regional Minority organizations to develop so that they could organize HIV prevention programs and services within the communities. This has helped 22 organizations and 8 of them service the Latino/Latina populations, and another 3 service those groups, which include Latinos/Latinas. In addition, CDC has directly conducted behavioral research programs with the objective of reduction of HIV infection within the Hispanic community. (Impact of HIV / AIDS on Hispanics in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
The aim to improve health and raise the living standards in all countries of the Americans is the objective of PAHO. This organization is also the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization. The evaluations of the PAHO, or the Pan American Health Organization is that the number of people afflicted with diabetes is increasing rapidly and has affected today at least one in twenty people. They have also estimated that 30 deaths of every 100,000 that takes place along the U.S. - Mexico border takes place due to diabetes. This is double the rate that is seen in the rest of the United States. Some…[continue]
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