Minorities now in the majority in Phoenix and Tucson
Associated Press

But in counties, whites make up 38.8 percent in Maricopa and 41.9 percent in Pima

Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/hourlyupdate/143175.php

 PHOENIX - After dramatic growth from 2000 to 2005, minorities now outnumber whites in Phoenix and Tucson.

U.S. Census data also shows that Denver also ended 2005 with a minority population slightly larger than non-minorities.

Although more than half of the residents within the city limits of Phoenix and Tucson are minorities, the predominance of whites in other communities gives Maricopa County a minority component of 38.8 percent and Pima County 41.9 percent.

With Phoenix, Tucson and Denver joining the ranks of minority-predominant cities, the list now includes 31 of the nation's largest 50 cities.

Among medium-size cities, Yuma and Avondale have had minority majorities since the 2000 census or earlier.

Anita Luera, vice president of the Valle Del Sol behavioral health center and director of its 20-year-old leadership-development program aimed at Hispanics, said there is little fundamental difference between the two populations.

"People shouldn't be afraid of it," Luera said. "Minorities are the same as majorities in wanting to have better lives, schools, education and safer communities."

Conrado Gomez, an assistant clinical professor of education at Arizona State University Polytechnic, said the heightened minority numbers will be felt mostly in two areas: politics and education.

"Minority" for statistical purposes means everyone except Whites who are not of Hispanic ancestry. This includes American Indians, Blacks, Asians and Pacific Islanders, people who designate themselves "some other race" and the Hispanic ethnic group, regardless of race.

The latest figures are the product of a survey in which roughly one in every 40 households in the nation was contacted throughout 2005.

The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan statistical area, which encompasses all Maricopa and Pinal counties, is 38.9 percent minority.