Diversity on the Plains: work bringing more people to North Dakota

As the state grows, it's seeing increases in populations from across the world.

A Pew Research report says North Dakota has the fastest growth rate of Hispanics of any state. In fact, the state had a 135-percent increase in the Hispanic population in the last decade.

By the numbers, the state's Census manager says in the 1970s there were 2,000 Hispanics in the entire state.

In 2008 more than 12,000. And, just last year, more than 29,000.

Your News Leader found out the biggest Hispanic population is in the Western portion of our state in the Bakken.

High paying oil jobs and service industry employment, that in some cases is twice the minimum wage, are the main reasons many Hispanics journey here.

The rise of their population has created a community full of hope searching for the American Dream.

The promise oil brings knows no language.

Jr Valle came to Williston seven years ago.

"I left home when I was 14, so I had to learn to provide for myself. There was no one around me to help me," said Valle.

Now, he works in the oil industry and fends for himself with employment he's found through Job Service. "Financially, yes. It's a good opportunity for anybody," added Valle.

Those opportunities have inspired thousands of Hispanics to relocate to North Dakota.

Jennefer Rey came here after friends raved about the possibilities.

"En Estados Unidos hay bastantes opurtunidades que lamentablemente nosotros en otros paises,o como latinos no lo tenemos por la problematica social," dijo Rey. Translation: "In the U.S. there are lots of opportunities that unfortunately us in our countries, or as Latinos, don’t have because of social issue," said Rey.

Everything fell into place. An oil job for her husband and her children are learning English.

Job Service North Dakota Williston Manager Paula Hickel said: "More people are trying to work on their English and become more proficient."

Hickey says the increase of Hispanics has been tenfold.

"El hispano por naturaleza es ambisioso tambien. Igual que otras racas tambien. Siempre a ganar dinero, a tener su casa, su familia contenta," dijo Silvia Rodriguez. Translation: "By nature Hispanics are ambitious. Just like other races, too. They always want to earn money, have a home and keep their family happy," said Silvia Rodriguez.

Always moving toward a better future.

"Si existen todavia personas que vienen buscando el sueno Americano," dijo Nora Reyes. Translation: "There are still people who come here searching the American Dream," said Nora Reyes.

A dream that many have found here.

Learning a second language for many is a challenge.

In part two of our "Diversity on the Plains" series, you'll hear about obstacles the Hispanic community is overcoming.