Over the course of the past twenty years, the Las Vegas metropolitan area has experienced a significant social changes. In particular, the demographic composition and structure of the local population become considerably diverse. Individuals of diverse backgrounds have migrated to Las Vegas from many different U. S states and foreign countries, but migration flows from Mexico and other Latin American counties have played the leading role in reshaping the region’s population since the early 1990s. The Latino population of Clark County has grown considerably in recent years.
The U. S Census Bureau reported that the total number of Latinos in Clark County grew by 47% between 2000-2005 – the fastest growth rate for any group in the country or the state. Growth in the Latino population reshaped the composition of Clark County School District (CCSD), the largest school district in Nevada and the fifth largest in the country. Patterns of migration from selected countries in Latin America to Las Vegas have been shaped by a number of factors, but economic influences clearly have had largest effects on recent migration flows.
In many home countries of the migrants, such as Mexico, recent economic performance has been lackluster. As a result, the number of jobs created in formal sectors in these economies has not kept pace with the growth in the workforce, creating moderate to high levels of unemployment and underemployment (Helen F. James, 1921). As the Latino population in Clark County has grown, there has been an increase in the number of civic associations and interest groups that have formed in order to address issues in the Latino and migrant communities.
In general, groups in the community tend to fall into one of the three categories. The first type, which includes groups and associations that focus on economic interests and issues, have members from a cross-section of the Latino population and engage in a variety of different activities ranging from issues to advocacy to civic projects (Marion Clawson, 1971). In addition to economic interest groups, there are a number of civic associations that represent migrants from selected countries in Latin America.
To varying degrees, these associations support public works projects back in the home country while sponsoring events locally in order to promote cultural cohesion among group members. Finally, there are a variety of different faith-based and non-profit organizations that have started to serve Latin American migrants in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. For example, the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada currently provides a range of services to migrants and refugees, including job placement, English language training and assistance with immigration issues (Dodds H.W, 1930)
Reference Helen F. Ladds (1998): Local Government Tax and Land Use Policies in the United States: Understanding the links. Marion Claws (1971): Suburban Land Conversion in the United States: An Economic and Governmental Process Herman G. James (1921): Local Government in the United States. Dodds H. W (1930): The Government of Metropolitan Areas in the United States. July 1, 2006 Population Estimates: United States Census Bureau. July 1, 2006. Retrieved on 22/11/2007.