By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
The 2010 Census figures were released Wednesday, and Liberal saw a dramatic increase in the Hispanic population.
Liberal grew by 4.1 percent since 2000 adding 859 people. At the same time, the Hispanic population grew from 8,513 in 2000 to 12,044, in 2010, an increase of 3,531 Hispanics.
That would indicate that Hispanics are increasing while other ethnicities are on the decline.
The Hispanic population now makes up 58.6 percent of Liberal’s overall population.
In comparison, the African American population dropped from 827 in 2000 to 759 in 2010. That’s an 8.2 percent decrease.
Asians also declined, dropping from 640 in 2000 to 595 in 2010, a 7 percent drop.
In another shift, Dodge City became the largest community in Southwest Kansas due to the declining population in Garden City.
Dodge City now has a population of 27,340, up from 25,176 in 2000, a 7.9 percent increase.
Garden City dropped from 28,451 in 2000 to 26,658 today, a 6.6 percent loss.
Garden City suffered the explosion of a meat packing facility during the past 10 years, and the plant did not reopen.