September 15 begins National Hispanic Heritage Month. The month that runs through October 15 celebrates the generations of Hispanic Americans who positively influenced and enriched our country.

Politicians, historians, physicians, teachers, artists, scientists, influencers – Hispanic Americans contribute daily to this country, adding a valuable perspective that celebrates diversity and strengthens our ties as a nation.

According to Pew Research, Latinos accounted for more than half of the total growth of the U.S. population, though recent growth of the Hispanic American population in some U.S. counties actually slowed.

In case you wondered, California has the highest Latino population of all states as of 2014.

The Omaha population

It’s predicted the Latino population of Omaha and surrounding areas will continue to grow, though the overall population in Omaha is expected grow, too.

Experts point to trends among Latino families that explain the expected population growth:

  • Many families that migrated to the Omaha area in the 1990s now have adult children who now raise their own children.
  • Latino families tend to stay together, making it less likely adult children will leave the area.
  • The Greater Omaha area offers a relatively low cost of living, as well as low crime and good schools. In fact, Omaha has been touted as a land of opportunity for Latinos by national news outlets.

So it’s not necessarily immigration that will bolster the Latino population, but, rather, the natural impact of growing families.

Business owners

Latinos currently make up about 10 percent of Nebraska’s population. In 2007, the last year statistics were available, about 3,000 Omaha businesses were Latino-owned.

Specifically, South Omaha bustles with businesses owned and managed by Hispanic Americans. The collaborative culture in South Omaha lets Hispanics get new businesses up and running without always resorting to bank for small-business loans.

Instead, businesses share space or work out other flexible arrangements. It’s a system that lets the Latino population thrive and grow in the Omaha area.