By Patricia Guadalupe, NALEO Director of Communication
Texas experienced exceptional growth since 2000, with the Latino community playing a key role in the record number of new residents added to the Lone Star State, according to an analysis by the NALEO Educational Fund of newly released Census 2010 data.
While the state’s overall population grew from 20.9 million to 25.1 million (21%) in the first decade of the 21st century, the Latino share of that population increased 42%, from 6.7 million to 9.5 million.
LATINO YOUTH ZOOMED
Latino residents account for nearly two thirds (65%) of the population growth in Texas over the last ten years.
“Now more than ever, all eyes are on Texas. Our state is gaining four new congressional seats, and that is largely due to the unprecedented growth of the Latino population,” says NALEO President Sylvia García, former Harris County Commissioner. “It is now time to make sure this becomes an opportunity for full and fair representation for the Latino community.”
Census 2010 data also reveal that nearly half (48%) of all Texans under 18 are Latinos. “Latino youth are the state’s future leaders and its electorate. In order to ensure future prosperity for all Texans, the state’s policies must promote the economic and civic progress of Latinos,” said NALEO Educational Fund executive director Arturo Vargas.
In addition, figures show significant Latino population gains in many of the state’s largest cities, including Dallas (42.4%), Houston (43.8%) and San Antonio (63.2%).
“Our democracy becomes more robust and responsive when all Texans have a fair opportunity to choose their elected leaders. Those who draw maps in this year’s redistricting process must make sure they achieve this important goal,” added Vargas.
In last November’s midterm election, two Democratic incumbent Hispanic members of Congress, Ciro Rodríguez and Solomón Ortiz, lost their reelection bids.
Rodríguez lost to a fellow Latino, GOP candidate Francisco Censeco by 49%-44%. Ortiz lost by a fraction of a percentage point, with both candidates gaining 47% of the ballots, to Republican R. Blake Farenthold.
A second Republican Latino, Bill Flores also won a seat. Four Hispanic incumbent Democrats were reelected.
With four new seats available in the 2012 election, analysts’ project that Hispanic candidates will pick up a minimum of two of them.