New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the number of Latinos in Iowa has nearly doubled in the past 12 years. As of July 1, 2012, there were almost 163,000 Latinos living in Iowa. That’s nearly a 96 percent increase since the turn of the century.

Over half of the growth in Iowa’s Latino population occured in seven counties. More than one out of ever four residents in Crawford County are Latino. That’s the Denison area. In the Storm Lake area, 24.5 percent of the residents in Buena Vista County are Latino. In and around Marshalltown, 18.5 percent of Marshall County residents are Latino.

Two-thirds of the people of Latino heritage living in Iowa were born in the United States. The other third — just over 34 percent — were born in places like Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Columbia. About four percent of Iowa Latinos were born in Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. Territory.

This new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows a small fraction of students in Iowa’s K-12 schools are classified as “English Language Learners.”

More than 476,000 students were enrolled in Iowa’s public schools last year. According to the latest Census data, about 49,000 Latino students are enrolled in Iowa schools this year — and about 17,000 students are “English Language Learners.” That means about three-and-a-half percent of Iowa K-12 students are learning English.

On July 1, 2012, the Census reports almost 14 percent of Iowa’s Latino population was under the age of five. More preschoolers in Iowa are Latino than any other race.