Everything is a big hit at CAP Tulsa’s Eastgate location.

Wednesday morning the early childhood education center’s clientele was fired up about a special martial arts presentation, an obstacle course and a garbage truck making its rounds, visible from the shaded playground. It’s up for debate in the 2-year-old and under room whether that vehicle is actually a fire truck.

CAP Tulsa’s early childhood education program serves 2,300 children at 12 centers across the area. Around 40 percent of children enrolled are Hispanic, a proportion that has grown significantly in recent years, CAP spokeswoman Rainey Talbot said. Half of the 220 students at Eastgate, which serves the heavily Latino neighborhoods around 21st and Garnett, are Hispanic.

CAP created a bilingual and bicultural environment to better serve the shifting demographic. The anti-poverty agency incorporated dual language learning into children’s classrooms. Resources CAP offers adults, such as parenting classes and newsletters, are available in Spanish. CAP put an emphasis on hiring bilingual staff members, including a recruiter who has connections within the Hispanic community.

“We took a really holistic approach to it,” Talbot said.

U.S. Census Bureau population estimates data released Thursday indicate a Hispanic demographic shift is continuing in Tulsa County as well as other counties throughout the state.

The Hispanic population in Tulsa County increased by 2,119 residents to 72,012 as of July 1, 2013, according to Census Bureau population estimates. Hispanics make up 11.6 percent of the Tulsa County population.

Tulsa County ranks No. 16 in the state in percentage of population that is Hispanic.

Roxana Padilla came to Tulsa from central Mexico 10 years ago because family told her the city was safe, small and had job opportunities. When she arrived, Padilla said, there were not many Mexican- or Hispanic-owned businesses. Even finding good tortillas and Mexican food was difficult, and sometimes she would travel to Texas for proper ingredients.

All that began to change about six years ago, said Padilla, who works at Pancho Anaya Bakery with a green card. Tulsa’s Hispanic population began to increase, and more Hispanic businesses began to open and thrive.

“It’s really difficult to be in Mexico and have a real good life; that’s why we come here,” Padilla said. “It’s nothing bad; we’re not doing anything bad here. We try to get better and study and learn the language.

“And we try to help the country, too, because we like it here, too.”

Manuel Villalobos moved to Tulsa from Southern California 16 years ago because the cost of living is so much cheaper here, he said.

The Hispanic population in Tulsa seemed to drop about four years ago, Villalobos said, but recently the population has increased back to a higher level.

Villalobos opened Lagos Clothing in east Tulsa’s Plaza Santa Cecilia shopping center 12 years ago. Quinceanera dresses are among the store’s best-selling items.

White non-Hispanics continue to be the racial majority in Tulsa County, making up 64 percent of the population.

Texas County in the Oklahoma Panhandle had the highest percentage of Hispanic population in 2013 at 45.7 percent.

Texas County is one of three so-called majority-minority counties in the state where minorities make up a majority of the population.

Large percentages of American Indians account for the majority-minority statuses of Adair and Cherokee counties, where the percentage of white non-Hispanics is 42 and 49.6 percent of the total population respectively.

Median age

Other census data made public Thursday show that while the median age in the state of Oklahoma population declined slightly to 36.226 years, it varies widely among individual counties.

The youngest county is Payne County, home to Oklahoma State University. The median age of the population in Payne County in 2013 was 26.6 years. The median age has been declining each year since at least the 2010 Census, when it was 27.3 years.

At the other end of the age range is McIntosh County, where the median age was 48.2 years in 2013, an increase of 0.1 years from 2012.

The Tulsa County population, with a median age of 35.4 years, is the 12th youngest county in the state.

Oklahoma is one of seven states where the median age declined between 2012 and 2013, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

In contrast, the median age for the U.S. as a whole increased from 37.5 years to 37.6 years.

Census Bureau officials attributed the decline in median age among Oklahoma and others in the Great Plains to the energy boom in those areas.

The nation as a whole grew older as the oldest baby boomers became seniors. The nation’s 65-and-older population surged to 44.7 million in 2013, up 3.6 percent from 2012, according to the Census Bureau. Population younger than 65 grew by only 0.3 percent.

Other states that saw a decline in the median age of the population included North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii.


Tulsa County population, 2013

Race/ethnicity Population Percentage of total
 White  399,944  64%
 Hispanic  72,012  12%
 Black  64,699  10%
 Amer. Indian  36,889  6%
 2+races, other  32,898  5%
 Asian  15,967  3

Median age by county

County Median Age, 2013 Median age change,2012-2013

Adair
37.2 0.1

Alfalfa
44 -1.5

Atoka
40.4 0.2

Beaver
40.5 -0.1

Beckham
34.2 -0.5

Blaine
40.7 -0.1

Bryan
37.3 -0.1

Caddo
37.2 -0.1

Canadian
35.6 -0.1

Carter
38 -0.2

Cherokee
34.5 0

Choctaw
41.9 0.2

Cimarron
43.9 -0.4

Cleveland
33.1 0.2

Coal
41.4 0.9

Comanche
32 0.5

Cotton
41.9 0.2

Craig
42.4 0.3

Creek
40.4 0.2

Custer
30.6 0

Delaware
45.8 0.3

Dewey
41.2 -1

Ellis
44 0.2

Garfield
36 -0.6

Garvin
39.7 -0.1

Grady
38.6 0

Grant
44.1 -0.1

Greer
39.8 -0.7

Harmon
40.1 0.4

Harper
39.8 -0.1

Haskell
40.5 -0.1

Hughes
40.4 -0.5

Jackson
34 0

Jefferson
42.4 0

Johnston
40 0.2

Kay
38.7 -0.4

Kingfisher
38.2 -0.4

Kiowa
42.2 -1.1

Latimer
40.9 0.6

Le Flore
39.4 0.1

Lincoln
41.4 0.3

Logan
38.1 0

Love
40.2 -0.3

McClain
38.4 0

McCurtain
39.1 0

McIntosh
48.2 0.1

Major
41.9 -0.3

Marshall
43.1 0.1

Mayes
39.9 0.5

Murray
41.6 0.1

Muskogee
37.7 0.2

Noble
41.2 0.1

Nowata
42 -0.3

Okfuskee
39.8 0

Oklahoma
34.2 0

Okmulgee
39.1 0.1

Osage
42.2 0.1

Ottawa
38.4 -0.2

Pawnee
41.7 0.1

Payne
26.6 -0.2

Pittsburg
40.4 -0.1

Pontotoc
35.2 0

Pottawatomie
37.4 0.2

Pushmataha
45 0.2

Roger Mills
41.1 0.8

Rogers
39 0.1

Seminole
39.1 -0.2

Sequoyah
40 0.2

Stephens
40.4 -0.1

Texas
32.2 0.2

Tillman
40.6 0.1

Tulsa
35.4 0

Wagoner
38.2 0.3

Washington
40.6 0.1

Washita
37.7 -0.5

Woods
33.9 -0.2

Woodward
35.5 -0.7

State
36.226 -0.007

Curtis Killman 918-581-8471

curtis.killman@tulsaworld.com

Casey Smith 918-732-8106

casey.smith@tulsaworld.com

Staff Writer

Curtis is a member of the Projects Team with an emphasis on database analysis. He also covers federal court news, maintains the Tulsa World database page and develops online interactive graphics. Phone: 918-581-8471

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