From Mobilize the Immigrant Vote!
Last year, MIV provided an update on the importance of community outreach for the 2010 Census, particularly in immigrant communities where multilingual outreach is especially important. Since then, the U.S. Census Bureau has released the 2010 Census data that show California’s growing diverse population.
Data for California show that among the five most populous incorporated cities are Los Angeles, 3,792,621; San Jose, 945,942; and San Francisco, 805,235. Los Angeles grew by 2.6% since the 2000 Census, San Jose grew by 5.7%, and San Francisco grew by 3.7%.
Since 2000, some of the largest counties include Los Angeles with a population growth of 3.1%, San Diego (increase of 10.0%), Orange (increase of 5.8%), Riverside (increase of 41.7%), and San Bernardino (increase of 19.1%).
Among these counties, immigrant populations are among the state’s fastest growing communities. The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population grew significantly, representing 33.6% growth in the last decade. The Hispanic or Latino population has grown from 10,966,556 to 14,013,719, representing 27.8% growth. In comparison, the state’s overall population grew to approximately 37 million in 2010, representing 10.0% growth.
Taking into account population shifts since the 2000 Census, this information is being used in the redistricting process. A powerful new Commission, established by the passage of Proposition 11 in 2008, will determine California’s new Congressional, Assembly, State Senate, and Board of Equalization districts. California’s new 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission is tasked with redrawing these boundaries.
This represents a historic shift in how voting districts will be determined and implemented in one of the country’s diverse states. The growth and size of immigrant populations in several areas of the state underscore the need for the Commission to consider the priorities of these diverse communities. A major consideration of the Commission will be determined by “communities of interest.” A community of interest is a population that shares common social and economic interests that should be kept together in order for the population’s interests to be fairly and effectively represented. If divided, the community’s representation would be ineffective because it would be required to appeal to two or more elected officials. Many different types of communities can make up a community of interest, such as an immigrant community with shared language-access needs or a low-income neighborhood with specific educational needs.
Communities of interest are not generally labeled on maps, which is why it is crucial that local community members come forward to educate the commission. Without public input, the commission is unlikely to know whether a specific community of interest exists and even more unlikely to know the geographic parameters of the community of interest.
To learn more about the importance of the Commission, read an opinion editorial in the Sacramento Bee by Angelica Salas, board chair of the Californians for Humane Immigrant Rights Leadership and Action Fund (CHIRLA).
- First round of public input hearings: April 9 to May 23
- Commission releases first draft of its maps: June 10
- Second round of public input hearings: June 16 to June 28
- Commission releases second draft of its maps: July 7
- Third round of public input hearings: July 13 to July 20
- Commission releases final draft of its maps: July 28
- Deadline for commission to adopt maps: August 15
- Commission’s guide to participating in public hearings
- List of public interest organizations helping members of the public get involved in redistricting
- Advancement Project’s online mapping platform —
- Redistricting manual published by Asian American Justice Center, MALDEF, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- Redistricting guide published by California Common Cause
This article was written with the generous support of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, lead anchor organization of the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans for Fair Redistricting (CAPAFR).