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Minorities majority in Yakima County

An increase in the number of Hispanics was a driving factor in minority groups combining to make up a majority of Yakima County's total estimated population in 2009.

The number of Hispanics in Yakima County in 2009 was 101,343, an increase of 26.8 percent from the 2000 Census, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released this week.

A breakdown of population estimates for minority groups in 2009 was not available.

Hispanics made up 42.4 percent of the county's population in 2009, compared with 35.9 percent during the 2000 Census.

The county's population overall in 2009 was estimated at 239,054, a 7.4 percent increase from the 222,581 reported during the 2000 Census.

With an increase from other minority groups, Yakima County's minority population rose to just more than 50 percent. The Census Bureau said the minority population reached the 50 percent threshold in seven counties nationwide last year.

In all, 311 counties nationwide have minority populations of 50 percent or more.

In Yakima County, the percentage of non-Hispanic white residents has declined from 56.9 percent during the 2000 Census to just less than 50 percent last year.

Native Americans were the next highest minority group in Yakima County, with a population estimate of 12,685 in 2009, making up 5.3 percent of the overall population.

The breakdown for other minority groups put the county's black population at 1.7 percent, Asian at 1.5 percent and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander at 0.4 percent. Another 1.7 percent of Yakima County's population identified themselves as belonging to two or more races.