LOS ANGELES –  The U.S. Census Bureau today released data to be used for redistricting by states and local jurisdictions. As expected, the Latino population makes up a dramatic component of national population growth; Latinos in the United States now exceed 62 million.

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement in response to the Bureau’s data:

“Today’s data release from the 2020 Census demonstrates that the Latino community is a huge and increasing part of our nation’s future.  Despite an unprecedented attempt by the disgraced Trump administration to manipulate the decennial Census specifically to reduce the count of Latinos, and despite a likely statistical undercount, the authoritative decennial Census count shows significant growth of the Latino population nationwide, and Latino population growth at a much higher rate than the nation’s non-Latino population.  Latinos accounted for over half the nation’s population growth this past decade.  With over 62 million Latinos living in the United States, investing in our nation’s future means investing in the Latino community — educationally, civically, economically, infrastructurally, and electorally.  There is nothing to fear from the increasing Latino population of the United States; centuries of history, philosophy, psychology, and individual and collective action have shown Latinos to be patriotic and compassionate Americans, with a deep-seated devotion to our shared constitutional and national values.

“One measure of Latino growth nationwide is that nine states, spread across the country, have crossed the threshold of a Latino population that exceeds ten percent in the last decade:  Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wyoming.  Other states are close behind.  Latinos have been the largest racial minority population in the United States for 18 years, and the Census data confirms our continued growth in prominence.

“We now commence the redistricting process, and today’s data present the usual decennial prospect of substantial new opportunity for Latino voters to elect their preferred candidates to local, state, and national elected office.  MALDEF expects all line-drawers nationwide to react appropriately to the awesome growth of the Latino population by fulfilling their clear legal duty, under the federal Voting Rights Act, to create Latino-majority electoral districts wherever population growth demonstrates that it is possible to do so.  We expect these legal obligations to be met both in states of longstanding significant and growing Latino populations, such as California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Illinois, as well as in states and local areas where the Latino population is only now reaching critical mass to warrant the creation of districts where Latino voters have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.”