A network of Latino leaders has been assembled to ensure an accurate count of all Latinos in the 2010 United States Census. Over 30 national and regional Latino organizations and hundreds of individuals in the U.S. and Puerto Rico have joined forces to create the Latino Census Network. The Network, which is a project of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP,) aims to educate the Latino community on the importance of the Census and provide a united Latino voice on related issues and policies.
Results from the 2000 Census showed that Latinos became the largest minority in the U.S., however some say Latinos may have been underrepresented in the count. Data collected from the Census, which occurs every 10 years, is used to assign Congressional seats, electoral votes, and funding for federal and state programs.
Angelo Falcón, the president of NiLP, recently conducted a seminar about the 2010 Census at El Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños at Hunter College of CUNY. According to political scientists, like Falcon, there is a serious under representation of Latinos on the Census Bureau work force. There are also needs for the improvement of Hispanic, race, language, and other Census questions to ensure a more accurate Latino count.
Mexican Americans are the largest Latino group in the U.S., making up 64.3 percent of the total Hispanic population, or 29.2 million people.
Puerto Ricans are the second largest Latino group, however it’s interesting to note that most Puerto Ricans do not live in Puerto Rico. In 2007, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey set the number of Puerto Ricans living in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia at 4.1 million, slightly greater than the entire population of Puerto Rico (3.9 million.) For more on the Puerto Rican migration read the November political column at ElBoricua.com.
For the first time in 2010, there will be a bilingual Census form with just ten questions, which should take only ten minutes to complete. According to Falcon, the U.S. Census plans a massive three-month, $450 million advertising campaign targeting Latinos. An estimated $28 million will be spent on Spanish language media ads. The government also plans to use Twitter and new media to outreach to all Latinos.
The Latino Census Network would like to reinforce that Census data provided to the government is kept confidential. This is important because the Census Bureau hopes to again count undocumented Latino residents. An accurate count would provide federal funding to needed educational, health, and other community-related programs. An undercount of Latinos in certain local areas can undercut funding for police, fire, and sanitation services.
The network believes a real result in the 2010 Census will have important cultural, social, political, and economic implications for the entire Latino community.