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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (KDVR) — The new U.S. census data shows a surge of Latinos in Commerce City and Adams County.

They are by far the largest minority group.

Some believe they’ve always been here in big numbers.  

“(In) the previous census — had we been counted correctly — it would have shown that we had a high percentage of Latinos living in Adams County,” said Maria Zubia, who grew up in Commerce City.

Zubia said trusted neighborhood leaders helped get a more accurate count this time. 

Maria De Lourdes Zavala has felt the demographic shift at her Mexican restaurant in the Derby Business District. 

“More people speak Spanish,” Zavala said as she prepared Enchiladas Michoacanas. 

Zavala said there are now many more stores here that cater to Latinos.

The population shift in Adams County — with the majority of county residents now people of color — made national headlines, saying it was a “glimpse of America’s future.”

The Washington Post reported that “(Latinos) were 29% of the population two decades ago and account for 41% of the population today.”

“For years and years, I’ve seen a high number of Latinos. What we don’t have is a higher level of representation — any level of decision-making,” Zubia said. 

Zubia said many people in this county are now bilingual and help boost the economy and quality of life.

Many here expect Commerce City and Adams County to continue attracting more people of color.

Zubia said one of the other big problems is just how confusing the census can be with so many different categories for race and ethnicity.