Latinos Taking Over Cities as Blacks Move to Suburbs

For the first time ever, Latinos are now the dominant minority group in most of America’s metropolitan areas.

Posted: 04/15/2011 03:35 PM EDT
Filed Under Census

For the first time in American history, Latinos now outnumber African-Americans in most of the nation’s metropolitan areas. According to new U.S. census data, America’s Latino population grew 42 percent over the last decade, and much of that was in cities previously dominated by whites and Blacks. The times they are a-changing.

There are more than 50 million Latinos in the United States—one out of every six Americans. And in 191 of America’s 366 major metropolitan areas, Latinos are now the dominant minority group—that’s up from 159 in the previous census. Blacks now make up only one out of every eight Americans, and Black population growth was only 11 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Another difference between 2000 and 2010 is the location of Latinos. While the 2000 census found Latinos clustered in metropolitan areas in border states—Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, etc.—Latinos are now forming large communities in places all around the states. The new metro areas dominated by Latinos include places far-flung from the U.S.-Mexico border, like Chicago; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

While this information is interesting for people of color, it’s also tremendously important for politicians and their underlings. Besides the fact that congressional districts live and die by population size, some politicians find it easier to win based on the ethnic makeup of the districts they represent. For instance, many Black politicians rely on a strong Black voter base to hold onto their congressional seats for years—a perfect example of this is Charles Rangel, who represents Harlem in Washington D.C. However, if these district racial balances are shaken up, it’s very possible the political legacies within those districts could be shaken up as well.

This could also prove to be a problem for white candidates, specifically white Republican candidates. Because while African-Americans are relinquishing power in metropolitan areas, they’re moving en masse to America’s white suburbs, according to other census data. They’re also moving in record numbers to the South. If African-Americans can upset the power balance of white suburbs, normally a stronghold for white Republicans, that could mean trouble for Republican presidential candidates who have for decades relied on winning the Southern states to yield major victories.

 

(Photo: iStockphoto.com)

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