Latino Participation in the 2010 CENSUS
A recent study from America’s Voice Education Fund finds that Latino population growth will dramatically impact congressional apportionment after the 2010 Census.
The study, entitled “The New Constituents… How Latinos Will Shape Congressional Apportionment After the 2010 Census,” projects that, as a result of Latino population growth, nineteen states will see changes in their Congressional representation. The study finds the following:
“Latinos are not just settling in major cities, but diverse regions of the country. 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.
Not only is the overall Latino population growing, but the number of Latino voters is also increasing dramatically. Nationwide, Latino voter registration grew 54% and Latino voter turnout grew 64% between 2000 and 2008. In sixteen of the nineteen states projected to gain or lose seats after the 2010 Census, the Latino share of the overall electorate increased between 2000 and 2008. In five of the eight states projected to gain seats, and in all of the eleven states projected to lose seats, Latinos made up a greater share of the overall electorate in 2008 than they did in 2000.
As the Latino demographic continues to grow, politicians who ignore or demonize the Latino population in their states will find the road to re-election much more difficult. This is evidenced by Proposition 187 in California, which created a backlash among Latino voters that the state Republican Party is still trying to overcome, marked the beginning of a trend that has been repeated in national, state, and local elections over the last several years. This trend will only continue as the Latino electorate grows, if politicians continue to demonize Latinos and immigrants through harsh rhetoric and policies. For example, according to polling by Bendixen & Associates, 87% of Latino voters refuse to even consider voting for a candidate who advocates mass deportation of undocumented workers.”
As the study indicates, Latino participation in the 2010 Census is critical, as it will impact communities throughout the country. It is the first Census where Latinos make up the second-largest population group, and participation will affect almost $400 billion in federal funding for local communities and representation in Congress.
The U.S. Census Bureau has had a poor track record when it comes to counting Latino residents (in 2000, the undercount was an estimated 3%). Immigrants have traditionally been scared to fill out the census. Despite a push by the Census Bureau to encourage participation, a nation-wide resistance to the census pervades. A recent Washington Times article describes as national push for a Hispanic boycott of the 2010 Census as a sign of displeasure with current immigration policy, a push that could undoubtedly harm Latino communities throughout the country. http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/12/hispanics-mull-boycotting-census/
Ensuring that Latinos are represented in the 2010 Census requires a comprehensive, community-based effort. Census forms will be mailed to homes in March, then May through July census takers will make house calls to those who didn’t fill out their forms. By December, the bureau will deliver population counts and by March 2011 redistricting data will be delivered to the states.
¡HAGASE CONTAR! (It’s Time, Make Yourself Count!) Campaign: http://hagasecontar.yaeshora.info/english
There are many ways to get involved:
• Join or start a Complete Count Committee:
Complete Count Committees (CCC) are forming across the country to spread the word about the importance of the 2010 Census and to motivate residents to complete and return the questionnaire. CCCs plan and implement census awareness campaigns that specifically address individual communities. http://2010.census.gov/partners/national-complete-count-committee/
• Teach Classes:
If your law school offers opportunities to teach in the community (children and adults alike), please refer to http://www.census.gov/schools/ in order to obtain teaching materials regarding the census.
• Volunteer to help fill out Census forms or answer questions in your community