How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Will LA County's Latinos get more political clout, one way or another?

Art by Eric Fischer/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A color-coded ethnicity map of the Los Angeles area, based on census data

UPDATE: Los Angeles County Supervisors have voted down the plans 4 to 1 that would create a second Latino-majority district, so it's likely the matter will now go to court. 

Will Latinos in Los Angeles County wake up tomorrow with greater political representation via a new Latino-majority supervisorial district? It seems unlikely as the county Board of Supervisors votes tonight, and a court battle may be in order. But there have been substantial fireworks in getting to this point, and there will be more.

At issue is whether the county, which is nearly 50 percent Latino, should have a second Latino-majority district in addition to the one represented by county Supervisor Gloria Molina. She is the only Latino member of the five-member County Board of Supervisors. She and Latino advocacy groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) have long held that the county's Latino residents are grossly underrepresented.

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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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