Source: Inside the Gilded Cage

“Inside the Gilded Cage the Lives of Latino Immigrant Males in Rural Central Kentucky”

BENJAMIN J. SHULTZ

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Mexican migration to the “New Gateway” states of the U.S. Southeast.

“Between 1990 and2006, Kentucky’s Latino population grew by300 percent” (201).

“Kentucky has recently experienced a dramatic increase in its Latino population, growing from 21,000 in 1990 to nearly 100,000 in 2007 (U.S. Census Bureau 2007).”

“While a growing number of Latinos increasingly avoided traditional gateways and sought new destinations, the South experienced the most significant impacts, challenging the traditional biracial divide that has characterized the region throughout its history (Smith and Furuseth 2004). Southeastern cities such as Atlanta, Raleigh, Nashville, Charlotte, and Orlando experienced Latino population growth rates of at least 600 percent during the 1990s (Suro and Singer 2002). Following the West, the South is now home to the second largest number of Latinos in the United States, with Mexicans comprising the largest single group (Murphy et al. 2001; Smith and Furuseth 2004).” (203).

The Latino population in Lexington increased tremendously over the past two decades. This will create a need for schools to learn more about the children of immigrants. Though Kentucky was not a traditional receiving area for Latinos, it has become a major area for settling because it has work opportunities, a low cost of living compared to other states in the south, and also a certain “tranquilidad” that results in the segregation of Latinos to parts of the city where they have little contact with different ethnic groups, therefore less face-to-face instances of racial discrimination. The South has in recent decades become the second largest region for Latinos in the U.S. after the west. The importance for understanding the demographic shifts in this region will post problems for states and their social and civic institutions which have little to no experience dealing with Latinos.

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