Community Development and Civic Participation among Pittsburgh’s Hispanic Population
2009-04-29T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
This is the story of Pittsburgh’s “invisible” Latino population, a growing number of working-class, Spanish-speaking immigrants who remain largely unseen by the city’s traditionally non-Hispanic population. They go to work each day in the backs of restaurants, stand at the city’s few unofficial hiring sites, hoping for construction or landscaping work, or clean residential homes. While traditionally a hub for Hispanic university professors, doctors, and other professionals, Pittsburgh is among the growing number of smaller cities in regions throughout the U.S. to which working-class Latinos are flocking, even though they have not traditionally been considered Hispanic. Pittsburgh is a city of nearly 300,000 in Allegheny County, a region in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, whose Hispanic population has increased by 26.2% since the year 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau). Despite this marked increase, the Hispanic community here struggles to find its own members in this geographically disparate region, and works even harder to pull together enough funding to provide services the community desperately needs in a region that doesn’t have as many collective resources as major cities with large Hispanic centers, such as New York, Los Angeles, or Miami.