US Latinos and the Nation’s Changing Demographic Landscape

Mark Hugo Lopez, PhD, is Director of Hispanic Research at Pew Research Center. He studies the attitudes and opinions of Latinos, Hispanic views of identity, the political engagement of Latinos in the nation’s elections, and Latino youth. Dr. Lopez coordinates the Center’s National Survey of Latinos, an annual nationwide survey of Hispanics.

The New Face of America

The US was historically a “white and black” nation through the 1960s, Dr. Lopez reminded the Forum. But this changed with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, which opened up the US to new immigration streams from Latin America and Asia, dramatically changing the face of America.

The US immigrant population rose from 9.6 million in 1965, reaching 45 million in 2015, and is projected to be 78.2 million by 2065.  From 1965 to 2015, Latin American immigrants accounted for 51% and Asian immigrants accounted for 25% of immigration, changing the racial and ethnic makeup of the US population. Today, Hispanics are the largest minority in the US at 18% and their share will grow to 24% by 2065, according to Pew research.

 2015 Population Estimates

 2013  Location of Hispanic Populations in the US

 Changing Trends Among Latinos

Effects on Workforce

Immigration has a significant impact on the US labor force. Without post-2000 immigration, the American workforce would actually decline slightly after about 2015 and would stabilize at just below 150 million from 2020 through 2050. With immigration at more than 1.1 million per year, the labor force would grow steadily. Post-2000 immigration adds over 40 million to the labor force by 2050.

Between 2011 and 2050, Hispanic workers are projected to grow from 15% to 24% of the labor force. In that period, the labor force will grow by 41 million, of which 24 million (59%) will be Hispanic workers.

Effects on Voting Trends

The number of Latino eligible voters is growing rapidly. In 2012, 23.3 million Latinos were eligible to vote and 11.2 million voted. In 2016, there are 27.3 million eligible Latino voters.

 Latino Voting Trend

In 2016, there are 27.3 million eligible Latino voters, many of whom are not yet registered to vote. In 2012, 71% of Hispanics voted Democratic, while 27% cast their ballots for Republicans.

In 2014, 63% of registered Hispanics were Democrats and 27% were Republicans.

Half of registered Latino voters believe the Democratic Party cares more about them, while 10% say the Republican Party cares more about Latinos.

In 2012, 71% of Hispanics voted Democratic, while 27% cast their ballots for Republicans

Hispanic voters mirror all voters in their top issues: economy (49%), healthcare (24%), and immigration (16%)

Discussion

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia (PR): Immigration has public policy implications. We have an outward migration from Puerto Rico to the US mainland. Our medical students, nurses, engineers, and teachers all leave, taking their professional skills with them and reducing our tax base.

Dr. Lopez: Out-migration from Puerto Rico is changing the electorate in Florida.  About 75% of Cuban immigrants live in Florida and, in the past, were strongly Republican, although they voted for President Obama in 2008 and in 2012. Today,  younger Cubans are not staunchly Republican. By the 2016 elections, the Hispanic electorate in Florida will be 30% Cuban and 30% Puerto Rican. This will dilute the Cuban conservative vote, as Puerto Ricans tend to be Democratic Party adherents or non-affiliated.

Sen. Keith Faber (OH): In Ohio, we required that anyone receiving public financial support for advanced degrees agree to stay and work in the state for 3 to 5 years. This plan has been plan implemented effectively in Iowa and Ohio.

Sen. Martin Looney (CT): Is Hispanic voter registration keeping up with the population growth?

Dr. Lopez: Hispanic voter registration is growing, but not keeping pace with population growth. There are 27.3 million Hispanics aged 18 and older, representing 27% of all voters, but only half are registered. Half of all Hispanic voters are between 18 and 35 years old. This group has a tremendous potential for political power.

Sen. Keith de León (CA): The tapestry of diversity is our strength. Immigrants help shape California, and the economic security of the state relies on policies to include, empower, and integrate immigrants, rather than fall into xenophobia and exclusion.  For the undocumented people, we can’t confer legal residency or citizenship, but we can come as close as possible with forceful open, intentional public policies such as providing drivers’ licenses, tuition, and professional licenses for undocumented persons that enable them to contribute to the economy.

Speaker Biography

Mark Hugo Lopez, PhD

Mark Hugo Lopez is director of Hispanic Research at Pew Research Center. He studies the attitudes and opinions of Latinos, Hispanic views of identity, the political engagement of Latinos in the nation’s elections, and Latino youth. Dr. Lopez also coordinates the Center’s National Survey of Latinos, an annual nationwide survey of Hispanics. He was the Research Director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) as well as a research assistant professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Dr. Lopez received his doctorate in Economics from Princeton University. He is an author of reports about the Hispanic electorate, Hispanic identity and immigration. Lopez frequently appears in national and international media in both Spanish and English.

 

Other Immigration article:

Mark Hugo Lopez, PhD

Director of Hispanic Research
Pew Research Center

Between 2011 and 2050, Hispanic workers are projected to grow from 15% to 24% of the labor force. In that period, the labor force will grow by 41 million, of which 24 million (59%) will be Hispanic workers.

In 2016, there are 27.3 million eligible Latino voters, many of whom are not yet registered to vote. In 2012, 71% of Hispanics voted Democratic, while 27% cast their ballots for Republicans.

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia

Sen. Martin Looney

Sen. Keith Faber

Sen. Keith de León

Mark Hugo Lopez, PhD

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