Thursday, May 23, 2024

Hispanics and other Minorities Overwhelmingly Fueled Nation’s Population Growth

The first round of states to receive their census redistricting data last week shows that Hispanics and other minorities accounted for 85 percent of the population growth across the country in the last ten years.

The data will have important implications as the states begin the process of redistricting.  New Jersey, Mississippi, Virginia and Louisiana were the first to receive their numbers from the Census since they all have statehouse elections this year and their legislative districts must be redrawn before the filing deadlines for candidates.

“There are going to be a lot of additional Hispanic officials elected when redistricting is done,” said E. Mark Braden, a former chief counsel to the Republican National Committee who now advises state governments on redistricting. “But folks in power don’t give up control that easily — there will be tension between the ins and outs.”

In Virginia, the number of Hispanics nearly doubled to 632,000 and now makes up 8 percent of the state’s population.   In one area alone, Loudoun County, the number of Hispanics tripled.  Across the state, the number of whites grew at a very slow pace, putting them below two-thirds of the total population.

When it comes to redistricting, Virginia faces additional pressure since it is among 19 other states that must have its redistricting approved by the U.S. Justice Department due to a past pattern of discrimination.

Minorities also made up to 70 percent of the growth in the voting age population in the last ten years.  Hispanics accounted for 40 percent of that total.  In Texas and California, Hispanics made up more than half of the new voting age population.

“The growth of the Hispanic community is one of the stories that will be written from the 2010 census,” Census director Robert Groves said. “We should see a big difference from 2000 to 2010.”

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) says it will be monitoring states to ensure they comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects the interests of substantial minority voting blocs, in some cases requiring states to get federal approval of state redistricting plans.

The group says it expects to see “a minimum of nine additional Latino-majority House seats” based on 2010 results, if states comply with federal law.

“We’ll be monitoring everywhere,” Tom Saenz, MALDEF general counsel said.   In 2000, MALDEF successfully challenged the redrawing of a majority Hispanic Texas district that weakened the Latino vote after the 2000 census.

The deadline by which all states must receive their redistricting data by law is April 1.  This week Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa and Maryland are scheduled to receive their data.

Washington Post



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