If Republicans pause long enough from their previously scheduled in-fighting at this weekend’s state convention, there might be time for some heavy thinking on how they can connect better with Latino voters. A new survey shows how they can. Maybe.

African-Americans in the South are shunning city life for the suburbs at the highest levels in decades, rapidly integrating large metropolitan areas that were historically divided between inner-city blacks and suburban whites. Census figures also show that Hispanic population growth for the first time outpaced that of blacks and whites in most of the South, adding to the region’s racial and ethnic mix.

The Census Bureau rolled out data for two western states Tuesday: New Mexico and Montana. Both states may be trending Democratic: New Mexico’s Hispanic population jumped, while Montana’s growth was largely in its more liberal university and vacation towns.

New Census data on the growth of the Hispanic population continues to underscore the importance of this group in our national fabric — and to the electoral map.

Take Arizona for example: the Hispanic population grew 46% in the last decade and we now constitute 30% of the population of the state as a whole. In my home state of California, the Hispanic population grew by 28% over the course of the decade, now representing 38% of the state’s residents.

In Arizona, fervor against illegal immigration is so intense that politicians have pushed some of the nation’s toughest laws and citizen activists have patrolled the border themselves. But census data released Thursday show another side of the population story: Arizonans are increasingly becoming Hispanic.

Don’t look now, but Texas is turning blue. Not today, to be sure, nor tomorrow. But to read the newly released census data on the Lone Star State is to understand that Texas, the linchpin of any Republican electoral college majority, is turning Latino and, unless the Republicans change their spots, Democratic.

Just when you didn’t think it could get much worse for immigrants in these United States, it actually does. This time, it’s in Texas.

The Lone Star State just got a whole lot bigger – 4.3 million Texans bigger to be exact – according to 2010 census data released today.

Last week, the latest ImpreMedia – Latino Decisions Tracking poll showed that immigration is a top issue for 47% of Latino voters. That’s an impressive figure. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that immigration reform has the support of a broad majority of voters, not just Latinos. The latest DailyKos tracking poll proves the point — again.

While the Census numbers for Hispanic voters won’t be out until February or March, interested Census geeks can tide themselves over with the predictions America’s Voice made earlier this year in our report “The New Constituents: How Latino Population Growth Will Shape Congressional Apportionment after the 2010 Census.” The report turned out to be 100% accurate in predicting how many seats each state would win or lose, so it’s fair to guess that the conclusion holds true as well: “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,” while “states that are losing Congressional representation (like New Jersey and Illinois) would have fared worse had Latinos not moved there in record numbers.”