Cooperation at local, state and federal levels will be needed to support the Hispanic community through the pandemic and to engage them in economic recovery opportunities. Hispanic Americans are 2.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than whites, are overrepresented in essential jobs that cannot be done from home, and are subject to health risks resulting from systemic injustices.
Latinos and Latinas account for 18.5 percent of the U.S. population, more than 60 million Americans. The Hispanic population in California, at nearly 14.5 million, is larger than the entire population of every state but four.
At present, 6 percent of state legislators are Hispanic. Hispanics are even more underrepresented than Black Americans, who make up 13.4 percent of the population and are represented by close to 10 percent of state lawmakers.
While their numbers may be small, 25 percent of Hispanic legislators are in leadership positions in their state capitals as speakers, presidents or majority or minority leaders, says Kenneth Romero-Cruz, the executive director of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. “Once you get elected, you have a better chance than other demographic groups of being in leadership.”
Nearly 40 percent of these senior officials are women, greater than the 29 percent overall among state legislators, suggesting that Latina candidates have a better chance than others in securing the opportunity to represent their communities. “That’s a little counterintuitive to the stereotypes of machismo,” says Romero-Cruz.
About 13 percent of Hispanic state legislators are Republicans, though it was reported that 32 percent of Hispanic voters voted Republican in the presidential election. Romero-Cruz says that while there are Hispanic voters, there’s no such thing as a “Latino vote.”
“Issues that are important to the Mexican American community are completely different from the Puerto Rican community, and different from the Cuban American community, so they vote very differently,” he says.
See also the companion map, “Blacks in State Legislatures.”
Note: Hover cursor over the map below to see the numbers by state, and click on the state to see the names of the legislators and their party affiliation. After clicking on a state, click on it again to deselect and remove it from the current selection. To return the map to its full view, deselect all states.
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Editor's Note: Due to inaccuracies in the data provided by Quorum, we have updated the list to reflect corrections that have been made.