The Washington Post has a story on the 2002 population estimates from the U.S. Bureau of the Census: Hispanics Declared Largest Minority Here is the official press release. While it may be too early to tell, the release of these numbers will likely have a ripple effect on society that will be hard to predict. Two areas of impact immediately come to mind:
Programs that give race based preference will be the first target. Most affirmative action programs already include Hispanics in the group that stands to benefit, but in systems that have quota’s of any sort expect to see legal skirmishes over the numbers. Historically these quota systems have tended tilt heavily in favor of African Americans. Expect to see conservative Latino groups attack these programs in the legal system, especially those that target African Americans only.
Republicans, who have effectively lost the black vote forever, will make use of the divisions sure to crop up between Black and Hispanic organizations to woo the Hispanic vote in the next round of elections. While the Black vote may be solidly in the Democrats back pocket, the Hispanic vote is “in play” in most locales. Expect Bush and company to focus heavily on this “super” minority.
Extra Census Goodies
1) In case anyone was wondering about the reasoning behind the different classification of race and ethnic origin, the answers are here.
2) Are you curious about your neighborhood’s demographics? Visit the American FactFinder to see what the 2000 Census found in your area.
Full Disclosure: My fist job out of college was as a statistician at the U.S. Bureau of the Census.