North Carolina's Latino population continues its tremendous growth

North Carolina's Latino population continues its tremendous growth

4:36pm Jan 18, 2022
Prisi Hernandez, left, and Laura Hernandez, both with the organization Siembra NC, help Nery Ocampo, 19, center, to register to vote, as Irvin Bahena, 10, stops to watch from his bicycle, in a largely Latino trailer community in Burlington, N.C. (AP file photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A new report on 2010 to 2020 census data shows tremendous growth in North Carolina’s Latino population. Advocacy groups say this has implications for voting rights.

Over the past decade, North Carolina’s Latino population grew by nearly 40% — roughly five times that of its non-Latino population — to 1.1 million. More than half live in the state’s largest counties.

Among Carolina’s cities, Winston-Salem tops the list in terms of population share, where it’s grown to just over 17%, followed closely by Charlotte and Durham.

The report was released by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for full Latino participation in the American political process. Researcher Dorian Caal says he hopes the newly proposed redistricting maps by the General Assembly comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as well as state and federal constitutions.

“Ultimately, it’s really about ensuring that underrepresented groups have a fair opportunity to elect candidates who are responsive and accountable to their needs,” says Caal. “So, that’s really where our focus is in looking at this.”

In 2020, over one-third of North Carolina’s Latinos were under the age of 18. Caal says the continued growth among the younger demographic will soon be reflected in the electorate as they come of age and are able to cast a vote.

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