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CENSUS 2000 | Snapshots

Thousand Oaks

March 31, 2001|DARYL KELLEY | Times Staff Writer

The 1990s brought a more diverse population to Ventura County. Due largely to an influx of Latinos in every local city, and a boom in upscale housing in the east county, the number of Ventura County residents rose to 753,000--up 84,000 in 10 years. The people pictured below represent the region's increasing diversity.

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Adriana Ramirez, 27, has an upbeat spin on her little piece of Ventura County.

Like so many other recent Latino immigrants, she came to this county straight from a dusty Mexican pueblo where jobs were hard to find and futures bleak. Five years after her arrival, she is married and has two small children. Her husband, Leonardo, installs garage doors for a living.

"Thousand Oaks is the best place," she said as her children joined a cluster around an ice cream pushcart. "More safe than other places."

Her neighborhood may not be much by Thousand Oaks' standards. But it's clean, its lawns are manicured and she can afford $900 a month for a two-bedroom unit in a sand-colored four-plex.

Her neighbors are also recent arrivals from Mexico or Central America and are among the relatively few minorities in a city that remains 80% white. Every weekday afternoon, school buses drop about 250 elementary students in front of her home. They are nearly all Latino.

"It's friendly," she said. "I like it here."

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