How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Report: Where Latino votes will matter most

Source: Latino Decisions

Screen shot from new report, "Where Latino Votes Will Matter in 2012"

The polling firm Latino Decisions has put together an interesting chart using census data that lists the potential states where Latino voters might have the most influence in the November 2012 presidential and U.S. Senate election outcome. The chart lists the percentage of Latinos among those eligible to vote, along with an estimate of how many Latinos who are eligible to vote aren't yet registered.

One of the questions to come out of the 2010 Census has been whether or not the dramatic growth of the U.S. Latino population - now more than 50 million strong - translates into near-term political clout, not only in terms of redistricting based on population counts, but in terms of general Latino votes. From the report that accompanies the chart, released today:

By the 2012 election, Latinos will account for over 10% of the citizen adult population – potential voters – in 11 states. In another 13 states, Latino account for 5-10% of the citizen adult population. All told, that’s 24 states where Latinos have the capacity to influence electoral outcomes, given a competitive statewide election.

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There are more Latinos in California, but not in Echo Park

Photo by Kent Kanouse/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Chango coffee house on Echo Park Avenue, part of the gentrified Echo Park, October 2005

Earlier this week, the 2010 census results for California revealed a state in which overall, the white population has shrunk in the last decade, while the Latino population has continued to grow. But what about in L.A.'s formerly Latino neighborhoods that have gentrified?

In ultra-gentrified Echo Park, the trend happened in reverse. The Eastsider LA blog featured a post on the neighborhood's changing demographics, citing census numbers which show that since 2000, the percentage of Latinos in census tract 1974.20, sandwiched between Glendale Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue, dropped by 10 percent. At the same time, as the neighborhood became synonymous with hip, rents skyrocketed and non-Latino white creatives and young professionals snapped up property, the white population climbed 10 percent.

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Five good explanations of what the census results mean for California

Photo by Michelle Kinsey Bruns/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yesterday's 2010 Census results for California revealed what was already expected, an increasingly diverse state in which ethnic minorities have together become a majority. Latinos and Asian Americans alone - 37.6 and 12.8 percent of the population, respectively - now make up half the state's residents.

What does this mean for the state, politically and culturally? There have been several good explanations today, among them:


  • A story in the Los Angeles Times explained how the census results will help shift political power around the state; an interactive map of California's congressional districts shows each district's racial and ethnic breakdown, and helps explain the redistricting process. From the story:


Political power will shift away from traditional strongholds such as Los Angeles and San Francisco and into the Inland Empire and Central Valley. Minorities, whose representation in the Legislature and the California congressional delegation has never matched their population numbers, could see increased opportunities to gain control of elected offices.

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Monterey Park: In a majority Asian city, a Latina wins a council seat

Photo by debbychen/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Monterey Park mini-mall, January 2007

Monterey Park did not become the first city in the continental United States to have an all-Asian city council yesterday, as some had anticipated, but it did get an all-minority council that's representative of the majority-minority city's ethnic makeup.

Five of the eight candidates vying yesterday for the city's three open council seats were Asian American. Among the seats open was one vacated by Benjamin "Frank" Venti, the sole non-Asian city council member. After yesterday's votes were counted, Latina newcomer Teresa Real Sebastian - whose campaign website proffered greetings in multiple languages - joined incumbents Mitchell Ing and Anthony Wong as one of the three winners.

From an Eastern Group Publications story today:

Ing said his win gives him the “assurance that voters like my approach.”

Sebastian’s win was a “pleasant surprise,” he said. Chinese newspaper reporters who attended his victory party left early thinking the new council would consist of all Asian American members  because of earlier numbers, he said.

Ing thinks Sebastian would be a good representative for non-Asian residents in the city, adding that part of her appeal was the she was the only woman running in these elections.

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Californians becoming more Latino, more Asian, more mixed

Photo by Håkan Dahlström/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The state bear flag flies in Merced County, November 2009

The California results from the 2010 Census reveal a state that is becoming increasingly Latino, Asian, and to a smaller degree, more multiracial.

The California results showing racial, ethnic, housing and other data were released this afternoon. While the state's population growth overall was modest - up only 10 percent since 2000 - its Latino population has grown 27.8 percent, with Latinos now making up 37.6 percent of the state's residents. California's Asian population grew even more dramatically, up 30.9 percent since 2000, though Asians make up only 12.8 percent of the state's population.

The state's native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population remains small, but is up by more than 23 percent from a decade ago. And the percentage of Californians who identified as a combination of two or more races, while only about 5 percent of the population, grew by 12.9 percent.

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