Alabama has one of the fastest growing counties for Hispanics in the U.S., research shows

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America’s fastest growing Hispanic populations are not in places one would expect — Florida, California, or Texas.

It’s in rural states like Alabama and North Dakota.

379px-Map_of_Alabama_highlighting_Russell_County.svgAlabama’s Russell County had a 92 percent Latino population growth rate between 2007 and 2014, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. That makes it fourth in the nation, behind three counties in North Dakota. Russell County is on the eastern border of central Alabama and Georgia, just south of Columbus.

Williams County, in northwestern North Dakota, led the pack with a 367 percent increase, followed by Stark County, also in North Dakota, with 294 percent.

The Washington Post reports on the study, which shows the largest growth of Hispanic populations in the United States is in a “handful of rural counties far from metropolitan areas dominated by Latinos.”

This demographic shift could soon start reshaping the political landscape in mostly rural states; a move Democrats are already beginning to embrace. Acknowledging this population change, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has brought in Hispanic outreach directors for Georgia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, making it the first time a presidential campaign has focused its Latino efforts in those areas.

Clinton began airing Spanish-language ads this week in Nevada and Florida.

Another finding in the study: most Hispanics dispersing throughout the country do not speak Spanish only. As many as 72 percent of Hispanics moving to these fastest-growing counties are identified as “English proficient,” which means they only speak English at home, or speak English along with another language. The national average is 68 percent.

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