Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Espanola, New Mexico
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.9 square kilometers (8.5 square miles). 21.7 square kilometers (8.4 square miles) of it is land and 0.2 square kilometers (0.1 square miles) of it is water. The total area covered by water is 0.83%.
Espaņola is over a mile high at an elevation of around 5,595 feet with much variance. It is in a valley nestled between the Jemez and Sangre De Cristo mountain ranges, and the meeting point of three rivers, the Rio Grande, the Rio Chama, and the Rio Santa Cruz.
At the census2 of 2000, there were 9,688 people, 3,751 households, and 2,569 families residing in the city. The population density was 446.4/km² (1,155.4/mi²). There were 4,107 housing units at an average density of 189.2/square kilometer (489.8/square mile). The racial makeup of the city was 67.55% White, 0.58% African American, 2.86% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 25.56% from other races, and 3.25% from two or more races. 84.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,751 households, of which 35.6% had children under the age of eighteen living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 18.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of single individuals, and 9.7% had someone living alone who was sixty-five years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the city the population was spread out, with 27.8% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was thirty-four years. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females aged eighteen and over, there were 94.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,144, and the median income for a family was $32,255. Males had a median income of $25,558 versus $23,177 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,303. 21.6% of the population and 16.5% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 28.4% of those under the age of eighteen and 15.1% of those sixty-five and older were living below the poverty line.
Culture and history
The Espaņola Valley is known as the "Lowrider capital of the World", but it is of historical significance as the first European-founded capital of the "New World". Espaņola itself was founded in the 1880s as a stop on the "Chile Line" railroad, but has now grown to include many of the outlying rural communities. This includes the area in which Don Juan de Oņate declared a capital for Spain in 1598. He created a Spanish settlement in an area already inhabited by the indigenous descendants of the Anasazi. The treatment of the natives was typical of the Conquistadores at that time, with enslavement and brutality being a mainstay despite their initially warm welcome.
The acequias, or irrigation ditches, set up by the Spanish helped them to prosper as an agrarian society. These life-giving lines are, in some ways the only things that remain unchanged in Espaņola today. While there is a tangible feeling of pride for culture and family amongst Hispanics and Natives, there is an ever-increasing influence and presence of people that don't belong to either of these groups.
There has been a steady influx of Mexicans immigrating to the Valley for the last decade, which has significantly increased their visibility and influence in the area. Espaņola is also home to the largest community of ethnically diverse Sikhs in the world. While most Sikhs descend from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, the Sikhs in Espaņola come from all over the world, and continue to attract people from these locations, which adds to the cultural mix that is Espaņola. There is also a growing Anglo population, who usually belong to the artistic community of Santa Fe, are employees of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, or are members of the farming or cowboy community.
The prosperous agrarian society of the natives and the Spanish was replaced by a money-based system with the introduction of the railroad. As is typical throughout history, this disadvantaged many locals. They were forced to adopt a system for which they lacked the education. Many continued to farm, and their families still do today; however, they were taught to farm to sell rather than to sustain, and so were also disadvantaged. These factors are the most important to the development of Espaņola today. With poverty came fewer resources for education, and further dependence upon welfare. This has resulted in the current problems of drugs, crime, and racism. The racism is mostly aimed at whites and Mexicans.
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