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After Latino boom, Georgia town's population shifts again
Some in the large Latino community in Dalton, Georgia, gathered to celebrate their church's 30th anniversary.
December 12th, 2011
07:19 PM ET

After Latino boom, Georgia town's population shifts again

By Nick Valencia and Leslie Tripp, CNN

Dalton, Georgia (CNN) - Pastor Ernesto Mendez looked over his congregation as sunlight poured through the windows of the Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida church one recent Sunday afternoon. The church was celebrating its 30th anniversary, and some 300 parishioners, nearly all of them Latino, were there to hear the service in Spanish.

On a projection screen behind them, there was a sentence in Spanish: “God sent Rev. Ernesto to Dalton for us.”

In this small southern town near the Tennessee border, it’s not uncommon to see huge crowds of Latinos gathered at church, at work or in school. The Latino population grew for decades as workers came to work in the city’s carpet and textile industry. As of 2010, 48% of the city’s 33,000 residents were Latino, according to the U.S. Census.

But Georgia’s new immigration law, known as HB 87,  has caused some concern for Dalton’s Latino community. The law has been in effect about six months, though some of the strictest parts of the bill are under a court challenge. Those provisions would give officers the right to check for citizenship during a criminal investigation or to penalize someone knowingly transporting illegal immigrants during the commission of a crime. Speeding or driving without proper equipment could be considered crimes.

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Child poverty burdening more U.S. counties
A girl visits a food pantry in Pennsylvania. One third of U.S. counties have child poverty rates above the national average.
November 29th, 2011
07:59 PM ET

Child poverty burdening more U.S. counties

More counties are showing an increase in the proportion of children living under the poverty line, according to United States Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday.

More than a fifth of all counties in the United States – 653 out of 3,142 – saw a statistically significant increase in the number of school-age children living in poverty between 2007 and 2010. Only eight counties saw a significant decrease in the same time period.

Federal guidelines generally determine a family of four to be in poverty if their before-tax earnings are less than $22,314 per year.

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