Photo: Census Information
The growth of the Latino community accounts for New Jersey’s population increase since 2000, according to a National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund analysis of newly released Census 2010 data.
Between 2000 and 2010, New Jersey’s Latino population grew from 1.1 million to 1.6 million, and the Latino share of the population grew from 13.3% to 17.7%. Latinos are now the state’s second-largest population group.
“Nearly one in five New Jerseyans is Latino. In order to ensure the state’s future prosperity and well-being, New Jersey’s policies must promote the economic, social and civic progress of the Latino community,” said NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas. “The state’s leadership must be accountable to its growing Latino population.”
The increase in New Jersey’s Latino population was responsible for the state’s overall growth during the last decade. Between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population grew by 39.2%, while the non-Latino population declined slightly by 0.8%.
“During the 2010 reapportionment, New Jersey lost a congressional seat, and that loss might have been greater had there not been a substantial increase in the state’s Latino population. As New Jersey now undertakes it 2011 redistricting, those who draw its maps must recognize Latino population growth by ensuring the new maps allow Latinos to effectively choose their elected leaders,” added Arturo Vargas. “The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) prohibits states from creating districts which may dilute and or divide the votes of Latinos and other underrepresented groups. We call on New Jersey to strictly comply with VRA’s requirements during this year’s redistricting process.”
The Census 2010 data also reveal significant Latino populations in many of New Jersey’s largest cities, with Union City having the greatest share of Latinos (85%).
Eight of New Jersey’s major cities are also home to the state’s biggest Latino populations, including Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Trenton, Camden, Passaic and Union City. Over one-third (37%) of New Jersey Latinos live in the top 10 cities with the largest Latino communities.
“New Jersey’s Latinos will continue to make vital contributions to the state’s economic and civic life. The newly released numbers suggest that the New Jersey Latino community placed a high priority on being counted in the 2010 Census and of being full participants in the American political process.
It is now time to make sure Latinos can embrace the opportunity to translate those Census numbers into full and fair representation,” said Arturo Vargas.