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Pennsylvania student population diversity varies by county, with predominately white counties seeing a hispanic student population of as low as 13 students. Photo: Canva

Top 5 counties in Pennsylvania with the highest Hispanic student populations

Philadelphia ranks as the county with the highest number of Hispanic school students

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According to the Department of Education, five counties in Pennsylvania have the highest Hispanic student population during the 2021-2022 fiscal year. 

Students from different races/ethnicities comprise a total of 1,689,532 students in Pennsylvania, of which 117,041 were Hispanics from Berks County, Lancaster County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, and Philadelphia County. 

The U.S Census found that Pennsylvania cities with the largest Hispanic populations are the same as those with the largest multiracial population; Allentown, 54.2% and Lancaster, 40.2%, to name a few. In the case of the City of Philadelphia, it reflected a Hispanic population of 238,112 by 2020. 

Some of these counties had the highest percentage of Hispanic residents in 2020: Lehigh (25.9%), Berks (23.2%), Philadelphia (14.9%), and Luzerne (14.4%), as reported by the U.S. Census.

However, despite the Hispanic population thriving in different counties and cities in Pennsylvania there are places with a lack of diversity, especially in the student population. 

Cameron County has an estimated population of 4,500 occupants and a 13 Hispanic student population. Additionally, a small Hispanic population of 38 people, as reported by the U.S. Census in 2020— 94.5% of its occupants are predominately white (non-Hispanic). 

Both the Department of Education and the U.S. Census found Elk County to have one of the lowest Hispanic populations in Pennsylvania, with 0.9% or when compared to a Hispanic student population; it was 45 students. 

The following statistics include enrollment for School Districts, Charter Schools, State Juvenile Correctional Institutions and Comprehensive CTCs. Enrollments for Occupational CTCs and IUs are not included:

Five counties with the highest Hispanic student population

  1. Philadelphia County: 43,783 Hispanic students
  2. Berks County: 24,965 Hispanic students
  3. Lehigh County: 20,834 Hispanic students
  4. Lancaster County: 14,009 Hispanic students
  5. Luzerne County: 13,450 Hispanic students

Source: Public School Enrollment Reports by the Department of Education 

The five lowest counties with Hispanic students

  1. Cameron: 13 Hispanic students
  2. Forest: 17 Hispanic students
  3. Potter: 29 Hispanic students
  4. Greene: 32 Hispanic students
  5. Elk: 45 Hispanic students 

Source: Public School Enrollment Reports by the Department of Education 

Research demonstrates that less populated cities and counties are less likely to be diversified.

“As equity applies to educational systems, it has not been achieved,” states the PA Department of Education on its web site. “Though much critical work has been and continues to be done, we still see the outcomes of an inequitable educational system in the lives of the children of marginalized communities.”

With this clear notion the educational system in Pennsylvania should promote and establish intentional equity in their communities and provide students with an environment that is equipped to meet their needs. 

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