David McNew/Getty Images
Added voting strength - suggested by this bilingual election official in Boyle Heights - is only one potential consequence of projections that Latinos will outnumber non-Hispanic whites in California within a few years.
Governor Brown’s budget for the next fiscal year reveals that rapidly changing demographics - in other words, Latino population growth - will greatly affect California’s future.
By the end of this year, Latinos will outnumber non-Hispanic whites in the state. California jumped ahead of the national trend because of immigration, births, and newcomers from other states. This population projection matters to California and the rest of the nation.
“It’s worth reminding everyone at the top, that the demographic changes that have put Latinos in the position that they’re in today are ongoing," says Gary Segura, who teaches American politics at Stanford. "That this year Latinos will displace Anglo-Saxons as the plurality population in California, and that similar displacement is going to take place in other states in the Southwest, and indeed, across the country.”
When it comes to engaging Latino voters, Segura says, Republicans and Democrats face great challenges – because neither party can ignore that 50,000 Latino US citizens turn 18 years old every month.
“Even though Latinos had such a large impact on this last election, it is still frustratingly clear that somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 million Latino eligible voters sat home on election day," Segura adds. "It is an under-mobilized community. So the opportunities for both political parties to substantially improve their standing does exist, but it requires investing resources and time and bringing more Latinos into the electorate.”
Fourteen-million Latinos – more than in any other state - live in California. New Mexico is home to the largest concentration. About half of its population identifies as Hispanic.