More diversity in the state

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The Hispanic population in the state has more than doubled in the last 10 years.

Researchers from the Pew Research Center say North Dakota has the fastest growth rate of any state. They say in the last decade, the Hispanic population has increased by 135 percent. But the state still ranks 49th of 50 in its overall Hispanic population last year.

North Dakota continues to grow and people from all walks of life are bringing different cultures to the state.

"Compared to 2004 till a few years ago I could say there was a large increase cause I was getting a lot of Hispanic customers into the store and restaurant," said Elma Donez, La Tejana Mexican Restaurant owner.

Donez moved to the state from Texas in the early 2000s. Her mother is from Mexico.

"There are more choices: there's food, there's culture, there's music, there's different things that it brings in," Donez said.

Her restaurant brings in people from all around the world.

"Cubans, Hondurans, people from all over," said Donez.

The increase has been seen the most in the western half of the state.

"We go back to 1970, the number of Hispanics is only about 2,000 in the state. What we've been seeing is that number has been doubling almost every decade," said Kevin Iverson, ND Census Office manager.

The population went from more than 12,000 Hispanics in 2008 to more than 29,000 in 2018.

"People that bring new cultural backgrounds and that creates new learning experiences you know for [the] community and it brings new learning opportunity for the kids that are in school," said Gov. Doug Burgum

Burgum says it's a positive thing to see.

He says the state has seen increases in all populations and they're getting younger.

The state Census reported a large increase in African Americans in the state too; they say there was a more than 200 percent increase in the last decade.

Iverson says the economic opportunity in the state is a big reason why many people come to North Dakota and because it's a good place to raise a family.