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The New Constituents

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the new constituents 


OCTOBER 2010 UPDATE | Download PDF

The results of the 2010 Census will have a profound effect on the American political landscape.  Since the last Census in 2000, the Latino population in America has grown dramatically, and Latinos have become the largest minority group in the United States. 

This updated report examines the role Latinos will play in determining Congressional apportionment following the 2010 Census.  The bipartisan firm Election Data Services, Inc., relying on estimates from the GIS and demographic company Esri, issued new projections about which states are likely to gain and lose Congressional seats following the 2010 Census.  These updated projections show that eighteen states are poised to see changes in their Congressional representation: eight states will gain at least one House seat, while ten states will lose at least one seat in Congress.

  • States gaining House seats: Texas (+4), Florida (+2), Arizona (+1), Georgia (+1), Nevada (+1), South Carolina (+1), Utah (+1), and Washington (+1).
  • States losing House seats: New York (-2), Ohio (-2), Illinois (-1), Iowa (-1), Louisiana (-1), Massachusetts (-1), Michigan (-1), Missouri (-1), New Jersey (-1), and Pennsylvania (-1).

Using existing Census data on state populations, voter registration, and voter turnout, along with the above reapportionment projections, America’s Voice Education Fund conducted the following analysis, which finds that:

Latinos are not just settling in major cities, but diverse regions of the country.  After the 2010 Census, new Members of Congress in states like Georgia and South Carolina as well as Texas and Florida will owe their positions, in part, to the expanding Latino population.

 Latinos represent 51% of population growth in the United States from 2000 to 2009.  They have driven growth in the states poised to gain House seats following the 2010 Census, including the majority of growth in both Texas and Florida, the only states currently projected to gain more than one seat due to reapportionment.  In Texas, Latinos were 63% of the population growth from 2000 to 2009, while in Florida, Latinos were 51% of the state’s population growth during those years.

States that are losing Congressional representation would have fared worse had Latinos not moved there in record numbers.  While their states’ Congressional delegations are shrinking overall, Latino voters are gaining power as they expand their share of the electorate.  

Latinos made up a combined 75% of the population growth between 2000 and 2009 in the ten states now projected to lose a House seat.  In nine of the ten states projected to lose representation in Congress, Latinos were the majority of the state’s population growth between 2000 and 2009.  Louisiana, Michigan, and New Jersey showed the highest percentage of growth, as each state would have seen a net decline in population over the last decade if not for the influx of Latinos.  Latinos also made up at least half of the state’s population growth between 2000 and 2008 in Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. 

Not only is the overall Latino population growing, but the number of Latino voters is also increasing dramatically.

Nationwide, Latino voter registration grew 54% and Latino voter turnout grew 64% between the 2000 and 2008 elections.  In sixteen of the eighteen states projected to gain or lose seats after the 2010 Census, the Latino share of the overall electorate increased between 2000 and 2008.  In six of the eight states projected to gain seats, and in all of the ten states projected to lose seats, Latinos made up a greater share of the overall electorate in 2008 than they did in 2000.

In the eight states poised to gain seats, Latino voter registration grew 48% and Latino voter turnout expanded 53% between 2000 and 2008.  In the ten states poised to lose seats, Latino voter registration grew 49% and Latino voter turnout expanded 60% between 2000 and 2008.

As this demographic continues to grow, politicians who ignore or demonize the Latino population in their states will find the road to re-election much more difficult.

 Proposition 187 in California in 1994 created a backlash among Latino voters that the state Republican Party is still trying to overcome.  This ballot initiative also marked the beginning of a trend that has been repeated in national, state, and local elections over the last several years.  Candidates embracing hard-line immigration policies have struggled politically, in large part due to Latino voter mobilization.  Most recently, Arizona’s passage of the SB1070 anti-immigration law has helped to rally Latino voters in the state and become a national flashpoint – though the full impact of SB1070 on Arizona Latino voting habits will not be apparent until after the 2010 elections. 

The following report examines these findings in greater detail.