We now know which states will lose and gain representation next year, but the real Census-politics story won’t be written for a few months, when we find out how many Hispanic voters the country has gained.

The answer will affect more than just House seats: It could put typically red Sun Belt states in the blue column for presidential elections to come.

If the Democrats pay attention to issues such as immigration reform, long-term trends could end up boosting the Democrats. Latinos are the fastest-growing minority group in the country, and they are changing the political complexion of states like Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada–all states that went from being fairly reliably Republican to swing states, and which may, in the next decade or two, become reliably Democratic.

After 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. In states whose Congressional delegations are shrinking overall, Latino voters are gaining power as they expand their share of the electorate.

New census figures that provide a snapshot of America’s foreign-born population are challenging conventional views of immigration, race and ethnicity.

The US census has targeted Waltham’s immigrant and cultural communities for outreach programs to encourage all residents, including undocumented citizens, to be counted.

THIS is census year in America, and although we hesitate to pre-empt the results of a mighty exercise that will involve over a million staff and whose calculations will not be complete until late December, we can confidently predict one finding. America’s Hispanic population, which is expected to come in at almost 16% of the total, will have overtaken its black population, likely to be put at around 2.5 percentage points less.

Latino groups contend that there was an undercount of nearly one million Latinos in the 2000 census, affecting the drawing of Congressional districts and the distribution of federal money.

As federal lawmakers continue to debate overhauling immigration law, the Census Bureau on Wednesday released a set of population projections that highlight the effects of immigration on the U.S. economy.

I’m not convinced Washington has awakened to the reality yet — but the 2010 Census is going to shake things up politically in this country, and politicians would do themselves a favor to wake up and smell the coffee in advance. This is about raw political power — something politicians of all stripes, understand. Washington Post: “The study’s authors note that most of the gains come in traditionally red or purple states as Latinos move beyond the nation’s largest cities into smaller, rural communities.”

The nation’s growing Latino population is likely to help eight states gain at least one more Congressional seat following the 2010 Census, according to a study released Tuesday. States expected to lose seats would fare much worse if Latinos had not moved there in record numbers.