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Latinos in GR

The Latino, or Hispanic, community in Grand Rapids dates back as far as the 1920s, when a small number of young men from Mexico came here to work in railroad jobs. Almost a century later, this community has grown into a significant social and economic force, influencing the city in ways large and small.

As of the latest census, Latinos represent 16% of the Grand Rapids population and constitute the largest minority group in the city. That number is projected to increase in the years to come, just as the number of Latino businesses continues to rise year after year – especially in the city’s area neighborhoods. Latino-owned supermarkets, restaurants, shops and services cater not only to local residents, but also to visitors seeking an authentic experience.

About 70% of our Latino population is of Mexican heritage, followed by people of Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, Cuban and Dominican descent. While each group takes great pride in the distinctive traditions of their homeland, they are united by common values of faith, family and entrepreneurial spirit – the same values that have always defined Grand Rapids.

All of this makes Grand Rapids a very welcoming destination for Latino-friendly convention groups, entertainment acts and festivals. Here’s just a glimpse of how the city celebrates Latino culture:

This video was designed to highlight the many events and attractions that the Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) have supported recently that demonstrates their ongoing commitment to our Latino community.

Community Highlights

The Hispanic Center of West Michigan provides a wide range of services in the historic heart of the Grand Rapids Latino community.

The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce works to increase the economic advancement of Hispanic-owned businesses.

Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities and Cook Arts Center provide enriching opportunities for youth and adults in Southtown and beyond.

The Hispanic Festival is a three-day celebration held every September in downtown Grand Rapids.

Supermercado Mexico is the city’s largest Latino grocery, with three locations and popular restaurant and bakery operations.

Latino media include El Informador,  El Vocero HispanoLaVoz, and Lazo Cultural newspapers, Sport Latino Magazine, La Mejor GR and La Poderosa radio (93.3 FM/810 AM).