Latino State News
Latino’s Fuel Illinois Population Growth
Photo: Census 2010
The growth of the Latino community since 2000 accounts for the population increase in Illinois in the last decade, 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, the Latino population in Illinois grew 33% from 1.5 million to 2.0 million, and the Latino share of the population grew from 12% to 16%. At the same time, the non-Latino population declined slightly by 0.8%. The state lost a congressional seat, but that loss would likely have been greater were it not for the increase in the state’s Latino population.
“As Illinois 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,” said NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) prohibits jurisdictions from creating districts that through vote dilution may prevent Latinos and other protected population groups from electing candidates of their choice.
“We call on Illinois to strictly comply with VRA’s requirements during this year’s redistricting process. It is now time to make sure Latinos can embrace the opportunity to translate those Census numbers into full and fair representation,” said Vargas.
Seven of the 10 largest cities in Illinois are also home to a majority of the state’s Latino populations: Chicago, Aurora, Cicero, Waukegan, Elgin, Joliet and Rockford. Nearly two-thirds of Illinois Latinos—61%—live in Cook County, with a majority residing in Chicago, the third-most populous city in the nation. Latinos represent 28.9% of Chicago’s population.
The Census 2010 data also reveal significant Latino populations in many of the largest cities in Illinois, with Cicero having the greatest share of Latinos (86.6%).