Latinos will gain tremendous political influence as a result of 2010 Census count

For immediate release: Dec. 21, 2010

Contact: Madeline Friedman (212) 739-7581

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the population of the U.S. grew 9.7 percent to 308,745,538 in 2010, with the biggest growth reported in states with large Latino populations. Latinos stand to gain tremendous political influence with these new numbers.

Though official breakdowns of race have not been released yet, the results indicate that Latinos now make up more than 15 percent of the population in states that count for approximately 200 votes in the U.S. Electoral College. Just 270 Electoral College votes are needed for a president to win election.

“With these new numbers, Latinos are now going to maximize our electoral potential,” said LatinoJustice PRLDEF President and General Counsel Cesar A. Perales. “LatinoJustice has joined with other groups to facilitate the naturalization process so that our increase in numbers directly results in more voters and increased political power. We are also part of a broader national effort to ensure that the redistricting process protects the rights of Latinos not just at the Congressional level, but at the state and local level as well.”

Congressional, and state and local government districts are reapportioned every decade after completion of the census. According to the Census bureau, states in the South and the West—regions where the Latino population has the most political influence—picked up the bulk of the population increase, 14,318,924 and 8,747,621, respectively.

Based on the new Census data, each member of the House of Representatives will represent an average of 710,767 people. Latinos stand to gain major political influence in Texas, (slated to gain 4 new congressional seats), Florida (slated to gain 2 seats), Arizona (due to gain 1 seat) and Nevada (due to gain 1 seat).

Utah, South Carolina, Georgia and Washington also each gained a seat. New York and Ohio each lost two seats, and Illinois, New Jersey Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Iowa each lost one seat.

The majority of redistricting work will begin in February, when the Census Bureau releases detailed geographic counts for each state.

LatinoJustice PRLDEF will be involved in every step of the reapportionment process to ensure that Latinos can harness the political power they stand to gain as a result of these census findings.

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