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Latinos Are Re-Shaping the Political Map

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New Report Shows Likely Impact of Latinos on Congressional Reapportionment, Political Power Following the 2010 Census 

Washington, DC – Experts on immigration, Latino voters, and the Census gathered today at NDN to discuss the findings of a new report released by America’s Voice Education Fund (AVEF), and to assess its implications for the upcoming immigration debate.  The report, The New Constituents:  How Latinos Will Shape Congressional Apportionment After the 2010 Census, shows that Latinos are helping to expand power in Congress for certain states, and to stem the tide of further losses in states experiencing population losses among other demographic groups.

“Latinos have become a permanent element of the American body politic.  Assuming an accurate census and a fair redistricting process, Latinos are poised to be a driving political force during the next decade,” said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).

Using Census projections by Election Data Services, Inc., the AVEF report shows that nineteen states are poised to see changes in their Congressional representation after Census 2010 – Texas (+4), Arizona (+2), Florida (+1), Georgia (+1), Nevada (+1), Oregon (+1), South Carolina (+1), and Utah (+1) are projected to gain House seats, while Ohio (-2), Illinois (-1), Iowa (-1), Louisiana (-1), Massachusetts (-1), Michigan (-1), Minnesota (-1), Missouri (-1), New Jersey (-1), New York (-1), and Pennsylvania (-1) are projected to lose House seats.  Evaluating these projections in light of Latino population growth in these states, the report makes it clear that Latino residents are a driving force behind increased political power in the states poised to gain representation in Congress, and are helping to stem further losses in states that are poised to lose seats following the 2010 Census.

“This report shows why persons of Hispanic origin will increasingly be asking for a seat at the redistricting table in the coming years,” said Kimball Brace, President of the bipartisan firm Election Data Services, Inc., whose firm’s reapportionment projections provided the foundation for the report.

Among the findings in the new report:

Latinos are settling in diverse regions of the country, and they are helping to expand states’ political power in Congress.  Latinos represent 51% of population growth in the United States as a whole since 2000, and they have driven growth in the states poised to gain House seats following the 2010 Census.  New Members of Congress in states like Georgia and South Carolina as well as Arizona and Texas will owe their positions, in part, to the expanding Latino population.  

States that are losing Congressional representation would have fared worse had Latinos not moved there in record numbers.  Latinos make up a combined 77% of the population growth in the eleven states projected to lose a House seat, counteracting population losses among other groups and helping to stem further reductions in their Congressional apportionment.  While their delegations are shrinking overall, Latino voters in these states will be gaining power as they expand their share of the electorate.

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 2000 and 2008.  In five of the eight states projected to gain seats, and in all of the eleven states projected to lose seats, Latinos made up a greater share of the overall electorate in 2008 than they did in 2000.

“The Latino electorate has been consistently increasing in both total voters and share of the electorate.  This pattern is demonstrated not only in states along the southern border, but in states all across the country.  As this trend continues, it will be increasingly difficult for any candidate to win a statewide or national election without the support of Latino voters,” said Andres Ramirez, Senior Vice President and Director of Hispanic Programs at NDN. 

“Politicians who ignore or demonize the Latino population in their states will find the road to re-election perilous at best,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice and the moderator of today’s event. 

Link to report, The New Constituents:  How Latinos Will Shape Congressional Apportionment After the 2010 Census: www.AmericasVoiceOnline.org/TheNewConstituents

Watch video of the discussion at NDN: