The U.S. Hispanic population reached 60.6 million this past year, up more than 9 million from a decade before. This makes Hispanics the second-fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the country after Asian Americans. Hispanics made up 18 percent of the U.S. population in 2019, up from 16 percent in 2010 and 5 percent in 1970, according to Pew Research.
National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins each year on Sept. 15, celebrates U.S. Latinos, their culture and their history. The celebration begins in the middle rather than the start of September and runs through mid-October because it coincides with national independence days in several Latin American countries.
In keeping with its growth, the U.S. Hispanic population will have an outsized voice in the Nov. 3 election.
A record 32 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote in 2020, up from 27.3 million in 2016. The 2020 election will mark the first time that Hispanics will be the largest racial and ethnic minority group in the electorate, accounting for just over 13 percent of eligible voters.
Nationally, U.S. Hispanics make up 34 percent of naturalized citizens who are eligible to vote.
A quarter of Latino eligible voters are naturalized citizens.As of 2018, that amounted to 7.5 million Latino immigrants who are eligible to vote, more than any other racial or ethnic group.
Five states are home to two-thirds of all Latino eligible voters in 2018. California (7.9 million) alone holds about a quarter of the U.S. Latino electorate. It is followed by Texas (5.6 million), Florida (3.1 million), New York (2.0 million) and Arizona (1.2 million). U.S. Latinos make up 43 percent of eligible voters in New Mexico, the highest share for any state. This is followed by California (30 percent), Texas (30 percent), Arizona (24 percent) and Florida (20 percent).
READ MORE: Candidates Stumble with Hispanic Translation
Florida and Texas are home to the highest shares of Latinos among immigrant eligible voters. About 54% of naturalized citizens who are eligible voters in Florida are Latino, the highest in the nation. Texas (52%) is the only other state where Latinos make up at least half of immigrant eligible voters.
The share of U.S. Latinos who are immigrants is on the decline and varies by origin group. From 2007 to 2018, the number of Latino immigrants increased slightly, from 18.0 million to 19.8 million. But they made up a declining share of the Latino population – decreasing from 40 percent to 33 percent during this span as the number of U.S.-born Latinos increased and the arrival of new immigrants slowed.
Fewer than a third of Mexican-origin Latinos (30 percent) are foreign born. That’s far lower than the shares among the other major groups by population – Colombians (61 percent), Guatemalans (61 percent), Hondurans (61 percent), Salvadorans (56 percent), Cubans (56 percent) and Dominicans (54 percent). Each of these groups saw the immigrant share of their populations decline from 2007 to 2018. People born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens at birth.
Helping the Hispanic Community Vote
As the Hispanic voting population has increased, so has the need for language access at the polls.
On Tuesday, the non-partisan National Voter Protection Hotline said it had a critical need for Spanish-speaking volunteers to help Hispanics and other registered ethnic minorities vote. According to the organization, their phones “are ringing off the hook with voters who have questions about the process.”
LanguageLine Can Help
For nearly 40 years, LanguageLine has been providing language access for local, state, and federal elections. This year, we will provide on-demand audio and video interpreting across the land, as well as document translation in more than 240 languages. We are also available to help should bilingual call centers experience overflows. Our services are available on all mobile devices, so you can put the power of 240 languages and 13,000 interpreters in your volunteers’ pockets.
We are here to provide assistance to any municipality that seeks to provide its citizens with language access around the voting process.
Please contact us so that we can discuss opportunities to empower all registered voters to fulfill their right to cast a ballot.