WASHINGTON -- Hispanics were pivotal to the population growth in Florida in the last decade, comprising more than half (55%) of the overall increase in residents since 2000, according to a National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund analysis of newly released Census 2010 data.
Between 2000 and 2010, while the state's overall population grew 18% from 16 million to 18.8 million, the Hispanic population grew from 2.7 million to 4.2 million, an increase of 57%.
"The fact that Hispanics account for more than half of the state's growth over the last decade is very telling and it shows that we took very seriously being counted in the 2010 Census, "said NALEO Educational Fund Board Member State Senator Anitere Flores. "We are and will continue to be full participants in the American political process."
Florida gained two additional congressional seats as a result of its population growth. Latinos now represent 22% of the state's residents and are the second-largest population group.
"As the Hispanic population in Florida continues to grow, we must work to ensure that the community is fairly and fully represented in the American political process," said NALEO Educational Fund Chairman and former State Representative Juan Zapata. "With this year's redistricting process, it is an opportunity for our community to elect the leaders of their choice."
The Census 2010 data also reveal that 26% of all Floridians under 18 are Latino, and that the Latino population in the state is younger than the non-Latino population.
"Young Hispanics are part of our future economic well-being," said NALEO Board Member State Representative Ana Rivas Logan. "We must make sure our state's policies advance the economic and civic progress of Hispanics s so that we can help to ensure the future prosperity and well-being of everyone in our state."
Figures show significant Hispanic populations in many of Florida's largest cities, including Miami (70%), Orlando (25%) andTampa (23%) Additionally, almost 80% of Florida Hispanics live in the state's ten largest counties, with 38% residing in Miami-Dade and 10% living in neighboring Broward.
"The growth in the Latino population in Florida shows that we are an integral part of everyday life in Florida – in business, employment and education," said NALEO Board Member and Aventura (FL) City Commissioner Luz Urbaez Weinberg. "Hispanics are Florida's future."
About NALEO Educational Fund
The NALEO Educational Fund is the nation's leading non-partisan, non-profit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.