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2020 Census Data Puts Spotlight on Texas' Growing Suburbs

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021   

AUSTIN, Texas -- Many states have implemented independent commissions to oversee redistricting based on the 2020 Census count, but Texas is not one of them, and some fear Hispanic and Black residents will suffer from it, despite their increased populations.

Census data shows Texans of color accounted for 95% of the state's population growth over the past decade, but Texas lawmakers have a history of partisan favoritism or gerrymandering, including multiple court challenges.

Rosalind Gold, chief public policy officer for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, noted Latinos drove the country's demographic growth.

"For our nation to thrive, for our nation's well-being, for our nation to have prosperity, we have to address the issues that affect Latinos throughout the country," Gold contended.

Nationally, the Latino population has grown 19% since 2010, by nearly 10 million people.

Neighboring states such as New Mexico and Colorado have enacted safeguards to prevent partisan favoritism, which tends to happen when incumbent politicians hold the authority to redraw district maps. That would include Texas, where Republicans have controlled a majority in both chambers of the State Legislature for nearly two decades.

During redistricting this year, Gold argued, lawmakers must acknowledge Latinos account for about half of the U.S. population and their issues need attention.

"So that the maps that are drawn provide Latinos with a fair opportunity to choose elected officials who are responsive and accountable to them," Gold urged.

Census data showed Texas is one of the top five fastest-growing states, with much of the population growth in urban and suburban areas. Both Harris and Tarrant counties gained at least 300,000 people in the past decade.

Disclosure: Fair Representation in Redistricting contributes to our fund for reporting. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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