February 18, 2011 | Sacramento Bee | Original Article

Latinos Key To Texas Population Growth

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2011 -- In-depth analysis shows significant Latino presence throughout state

The state of Texas experienced exceptional growth since 2000, with Latinos playing a key role in the record number of residents in the Lone Star State, according to a National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund analysis of newly released Census 2010 data.

Between 2000 and 2010, while the state's overall population grew 21% from 20.9 million to 25.1 million, the Latino share of that population increased 42%, from 6.7 million to 9.5 million. Latino residents account for nearly two-thirds (65%) of overall 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," said NALEO President Sylvia R. Garcia, former Harris County (Texas) Commissioner.  "It is now time to make sure this becomes an opportunity for full and fair representation for the Latino community."

The Census 2010 data also reveal that nearly half (48%) of all Texans are Latinos. "Latino youth are the state's future leaders and electorate. In order to ensure the future prosperity and well-being of 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 populations 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.

(Click here to view the NALEO Educational Fund 2010 Texas Census Profile)