While the US average for foreign-born nationals is a healthy 12 percent, Pittsburgh lags behind with an anorexic three percent – despite some 4,000 foreign-born college graduates in Pittsburgh. How many of them are Spanish speakers? Some 24,000, according to the 2000 census, a number that may be low, given the undocumented Latinos living here.
Currently, Sanchez Ridge’s best guess is some 40,000, including as many as 25 percent undocumented (and therefore invisible). “It’s a matter of opportunity,” she says. “People go where the opportunities are, and Pittsburgh has a lot to offer. Cost of living. Housing. Livability. Size. Access to government.”
Keeping Latinos, and attracting others, is Sanchez Ridge’s crusade. “I want to represent them,” she says, “the success stories, the professionals. The stereotype is that all Latinos are poor and uneducated, but that’s not true.”
See also this earlier Pittsblog post.