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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month in SWFL

Posted at 7:42 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 09:21:25-04

With the beginning of Hispanic Heritage month, there is much to celebrate along with the communities impact and growth in Southwest Florida.

The month-long observation kicked off with a celebration at ArtBeat Studios in Fort Myers, featuring artists and musicians from Southwest Florida, including international artist Alfonso Segovia, originally from Columbia. Segovia celebrates the rich culture through paintings of indigenous people from Latino countries as a reminder to never forget your roots.

“It's important to let the community know it is a strong root, even if you are not in this country if you don't preserve the root history is gone,” Segovia said.

This month is meant to not only celebrate the Hispanic culture but also spotlight contributions made by American citizens whose ancestors come from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central, and South America.

Hispanic population numbers in SWFL:

Lee County – 23.8% Hispanic, 187,359 POPULATION

  • According to USAfacts.org: 
  • Between 2010 and 2021, the Hispanic/Latino population had the most growth in Lee County – increasing 5.4% percent by 73,477

Collier County– 29% Hispanic, 111,763 POPULATION

  • According to USAfacts.org: Between 2010 and 2021, the Hispanic/Latino population had the most growth in Collier County increasing by 28,114 from 83,649 in 2010 to 111,763 in 2021

Charlotte County– 8.2% Hispanic, 161,953 POPULATION

  • Between 2010 and 2021, the share of the population that is Hispanic/Latino grew the most, increasing 2.4 percentage points to 8.2%.

REGISTERED VOTERS

According to the Florida Division of Elections…

Lee County: Hispanics/Latinos make up 12.39% of registered voters

Collier County: Hispanics/Latinos make up 12.77% of registered voters

Charlotte County: Hispanics/Latinos make up 4.05% of registered voters

School enrollment:

Lee County Public Schools:

  • 44% of all students identify as Hispanic/Latino – the largest group compared to 35% of white
  • 15.5% of students are English Language Learners
  • Bonita Springs Elementary has the highest concentration of Hispanic students at 87%

Collier County Public Schools:

  • 52.13% of all students identify as Hispanic/Latino 
  • 42.2% of Spanish is their FIRST language 
  • Highlands Elementary currently has the highest percentage of Hispanic students at 90.23%.
  • English is not the first language for nearly 16% of our students with more than 7,500 (K-12) students in the English Language Learners (ELL) program. Collectively, these students speak 104 different heritage languages and hail from 76 different countries of origin.
  • Approximately 54% of our students live in non-English homes, where English is not the first language and sometimes isn’t even spoken.

Charlotte County Public Schools:

  • 17% of the student enrollment identify as Hispanic/Latino, 2934 of 16,400 students 
  • Neil Armstrong Elementary has the highest percentage at 28.8%.