Hispanics and the Census, Glimpse of the Future

As Congress finishes its lame duck session and the new members get ready for their swearing-in ceremony many are focused on the new “new Congress.”  Not the one taking over in January 2011, but the one that will be redesigned, state by state, because of apportionment. A new Congress that will hopefully include many more opportunities for Latino representation, given that Hispanics make up about 25% of America’s youth, according to preliminary census numbers.

As we were all reminded this year, apportionment is the constitutionally mandated system, which ensures everyone in America, is equally represented, and is the main purpose of the U.S. Census. Here is a great video explaining the process:

This week the U.S. Census released first-time ever demographic projections. The data showed that Hispanics under the age of 20 make up between 21.8% and 25% of the total youth population in the U.S.—a significant increase over the 17% calculations derived from the 2000 U.S. Census. The 2010 figures highlight the demographic impact of the largest “minority” group in the country.

If the Latino youth population had not been taken into account, the non-Hispanic youth population would have declined by between 1.25 and 2.9 million.

The reality is that this growing Latino population is mobile, tech-savy and younger than the general population. They will be a major force in American in politics and commerce. The rest of the country better start paying attention and start investing in understanding the diverse Latino community (and believe me it won’t be easy).

When the new census numbers are released later this year we will likely see a growth in the Latino population all across the country. Many new districts will be created with larger percentages of Hispanic / Latino voters. I hope this means more Hispanic members of Congress, especially Republicans – It’s time for Republicanos to “ponerse las pilas”!


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