Once again the Pew Hispanic Center has given food for thought for analysts who want to help extrapolate future election trends on the growth of Latinos in the United States.
Summing it up in one sentence: The Hispanic vote will have increased importance throughout the United States in coming elections, but particularly in the eight states that will gain additional congressional seats as the result of the redistricting that follows the 2010 Census.
Much of this basic information is not new. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington — will gain congressional seats and Electoral College votes. Texas will gain four, Florida two, and all others one. Ten states will lose seats — Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. New York and Ohio will lose two and all others one.
This is because the population of the country and its growth has mainly occurred in the South, the Southwest, California and Washington and congressional seats and electoral college votes are allocated to each state by the number of people living within its borders.
Take note of the states, because this is where the Pew Hispanic Center gathers the numbers and provides the information for political junkies and analysts to study.
The Center points out that there is a difference between the census population count and the number of Hispanic Americans who are citizens. In Texas, Latinos account for one-in-four (25.5%) of the state’s eligible voters and 36.9% of the state’s population. In Florida, Latinos account for one-in-seven (15%) of the state’s eligible voters and 21.5% of the state’s population. And in Arizona and Nevada, Hispanics represent 19.7% and 14.1% of eligible voters, respectively.
And much, if not most, of this growth comes as a result of the rapid population growth among Hispanics.
According to research provided by the Pew Hispanic Center:
· The population of Texas’ increased by nearly four million, or by 21%, between 2000 and 2010. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of that growth came from growth in the state’s Hispanic population, which increased by almost 2.5 million.
· In Florida, Hispanic population growth accounted for more than half (51%) of the state’s population growth through this decade.
· Even in states with smaller Hispanic populations, Hispanics accounted for a large share of population growth. In Georgia, Hispanics accounted for 23.2% of the state’s growth. In South Carolina, Hispanics accounted for 19.8% of the state’s growth.
The study points out that Latino voting strength is limited by the fact that one-third of all Latinos are under the age of 18 and by the fact that many Latino adults are not U.S. citizens and thus not eligible to vote. This makes the share of the Hispanic population that is eligible to vote lower than either whites or blacks, even though the Hispanic population has grown rapidly in recent decades.