The United States Census Bureau released its redistricting data today, which shows the more specific numbers regarding the population changes the United States has experienced since the last census in 2010 and which will guide the redistricting efforts ongoing throughout the country. The results show that the percentage of people who classify themselves as Hispanic or Latino has increased from roughly 50.5 million (16.3%) in 2010 to more than 62 million (18.7%) in 2020, representing a 23% increase.
According to the data provided by the census, the top 5 states with the highest share of the Hispanic population are New Mexico (47.7%), California (39.4%), Texas (39.3%), Arizona (30.7%), and Nevada (28.7%). Other states like Florida, Colorado, and New Jersey also had a Hispanic population going over 20% of the state.
In fact, in some of these states, Hispanics either represent the most numerous ethnic population in the state or are practically even with the White population. For example, in both New Mexico and California Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in the state, while Texas Hispanics are only 0.4 percent points below white Texas, who are 39.7% of the total population.
Nationally, Hispanics are the second-largest ethnic group in the country after Whites (57.8%), with Black Americans coming in third (12.1%). Compared with the census data from 2010, Hispanics have experienced the most growth of all of these groups, with Whites actually decreasing their share in the total population from 63.7% to 57.8%, and African Americans showing almost no change from the 12.2% of 2010.
The Census Bureau had published the states that would observe an increase in their congressional representation earlier this year, where six states gained at least one more seat in the House of Representatives, while 7 lost seats due to population loss. Out of these six states (Florida, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Oregon, and Montana), three of them have a Latino population of over 20%, with Texas having the highest share of the Hispanic population out of them, with 39.3% of Texans classifying themselves as Hispanics.
Texas also has the counties with the highest percentage of Hispanics in the country, with all of them having more than 90% of their total population classifying themselves as Hispanic. These counties are Starr County (97.7%), Webb County (95.2%), Maverick County (94.9%), Zapata County (93.6%), and Zavala County (92.5%).
Hispanic growth and party politics
Of course, these numbers would be vital when state legislatures begin to redraw the congressional maps around the nation, as both parties will try to maximize their demographic advantages and secure the most amount of “safe” congressional districts possible. The growth in the Latino population will also surely be in the heads of political strategists of both Democrats and Republicans alike.
For the formers, it reiterates the vitality of the Hispanic vote in their coalition, as the weight of the Latino population has not only increased at a national level but it also plays a key role in some crucial 2020 battleground states like Florida and Arizona, while also being the largest population group in Democratic strongholds like California.
For Republicans, the steady rise of the Hispanic American population highlights the importance to make political advances around this key constituency. A great illustration of the cruciality of the Hispanic vote can be observed in Texas, which plays a crucial role in the electoral map calculations of the GOP with its soon-to-be 38 Electoral votes, where Hispanics are virtually tied with Whites in terms of share of the population.
On this front, Republicans have some encouraging news: The 2020 election results show that the GOP has increased their electoral performance among this group, with all the five more Hispanic counties in the nation shifting decisively towards the Republican Party, a result that was replicated in Miami-Dade (one of the most iconic Latino counties in the country) where the GOP increased its vote share by 22 percentage points.
With Hispanics being the group with the highest growth rate in the country and with the 2020 results showing that neither party can allow themselves the luxury of either taking it for granted or dismissing them entirely we can expect Democrats and Republicans to try their best to improve their numbers with the complicate, extremely heterogeneous and decisive Hispanic constituency.