California Latino Population 2014: Ethnic Group Set To Become Majority Despite Little Political Representation

Undocumented students in California.
Undocumented UCLA students Alejandra Gutierrez (L) and Miriam Gonzales attend a workshop for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in Los Angeles, California, August 15, 2012.

Latinos in California are set to become the state's ethnic majority in the month of March. With 39 percent of residents identifying as Latino or Hispanic, the 'Golden State' joins New Mexico as the second American state where Latinos are the ethnic majority. Despite this fact, as The Guardian reports, their political representation and power is lagging greatly - a majority of Californian residents still face the threat of deportation on a daily basis. 

Latinos account for 17.2 percent of the total American population. However, 7 million of those 53 million Latino Americans are undocumented immigrants. Moreover, of those that are legal citizens, in 2012 only 10.8 percent were eligible voters and only 8.4 percent actually voted. Part of the problem is the youth of the Latino population: even in states like California, the median age is 27. Latinos are more likely to become politically engaged later in life, meaning that as a political population, Latinos are relatively small.

California Latinos have a larger percentage of representatives than much of the country, however, this is not nearly in line with the size of the Californian Latino population. As immigration reform seems to have stagnated in Washington, it becomes more and more crucial that Latinos find a political voice. Latinos were instrumental in both of President Obama's election wins: Californian Hispanics need to push their representatives to make good on the support that has been granted to them from the burgeoning Latino populace.

 

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