Latino Population Growth Adds to House Seats

Lee Davidson, Deseret News (Salt Lake City), November 17, 2009

A new study says that six of the eight states that are expected to gain U.S. House seats from the 2010 Census–all except Utah and Georgia–would not receive them without recent population growth among Hispanics, which may make Latinos more politically powerful.

And while Utah likely would gain an expected fourth House seat even without help from the state’s Hispanic growth, Latinos still created 25 percent of recent growth, adding about 128,000 of the 503,000 additional people in the state since 2000 and making them increasingly important politically.

“The states likely to gain political power following the 2010 Census are currently largely Republican dominated” and in most cases “will owe this expanded power to Latinos who moved to their states,” says the study by the America’s Voice Education Fund, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that advocates comprehensive immigration reform.

“Ironically, many members of the delegations who will benefit . . . have embraced policies that are hostile to Latinos and immigrants. It will be interesting to see how the 2010 Census impacts politicians’ attitudes toward immigrants and Latinos who help them expand their powers in Congress,” the report said.

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The study projects that eight states will gain seats in the upcoming census–Texas (gaining four), Arizona (gaining two) and one each for Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah. Each House seat gained also brings an extra vote in the Electoral College.

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Eleven states would lose seats, the study said–Ohio (losing two) and one each by Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

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