Valley Becoming True Melting Pot - 8 News NOW

Edward Lawrence, Reporter

Valley Becoming True Melting Pot

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(Sept. 30) -- The Latino community grew to 385,000 people last year. Those numbers came from the latest census figures. That means minorities are gaining more influence in the area.

Since 2000, the Latino population has grown by one quarter. As that group grows so do other minorities, changing the face of Las Vegas. Experts say if you add up all the minorities in the valley it might just be about equal the white population.

Las Vegas resident Dario Sarmiento says, "The last three or four years, it's become to be more and more and more every day. Because of jobs people want a better life." Sarmiento moved here 7 years ago from Mexico City. He's seen a change in Las Vegas -- more Latino culture.

Maria Casas, UNLV history professor, says, "You will have a greater Latino influence over time."

As the largest minority group grows, so will their political influence, economic power, and the culture that UNLV Professor Maria Casas referred to.

Sormiento helps spread the Latin influence. He moved here to teach salsa lessons. Sarmiento says his clients are no longer just Hispanic. "Vegas is an entertainment center where a lot of the dancing is becoming a big part of it," he explains.

Salsa lessons may seem like a small thing, but Casas says blending cultures happens slowly with a lot of small things being accepted. She says it may take decades, but Latinos could outnumber whites in the valley someday.

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