May 30, 2011 | Sacramento Bee | Original Article

The Buzz: Larger Latino numbers play big role in redrawing California's districts

State's Latino population surges – political power, too

California's Latino population grew nearly three times as much as the state as a whole in the past decade, making it home to more than a quarter of the nation's Latinos, according to a new Census Bureau report.

While the Golden State's population grew by 10 percent in the past decade, the Latino growth was 27.6 percent, accounting for more than 90 percent of the state's population gain overall.

Latinos now are 37.6 percent of all Californians, up more than five percentage points since 2000, according to the census.

That percentage is exactly the same as that of Texas, with both states trailing only New Mexico, at 46.3 percent.

Latinos accounted for more than half of the nation's growth during the decade and now make up 16.3 percent of the U.S. population.

Many states have seen higher Latino growth rates than California, some nearly 150 percent, such as Alabama and South Carolina.

Latinos now trail non-Latino whites in California by about four percentage points. They are expected to become its largest ethnic group by mid-decade.

Those numbers are playing a major role in redrawing legislative and congressional districts, and maps now being drawn are expected to result in a sharp increase in Latino officeholders.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission is set to release its preliminary maps on June 10.


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