Tag: demographics

The Even Greater Outdoors

Few demographics are more environmentally conscious than Latinos. I mean, we are more likely to lead green lifestyles, buy green products and support efforts to fight climate change. And on a personal note, let me remind you that I was once a Boy Scout, and I can still start a fire without using matches… probably.

Anyway, the point is that we really love nature. So maybe it’s not a big surprise that Latinos are also taking the lead in creating new national landmarks and preserving natural spaces.

When President Obama declared part of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California to be a national monument, it was with the hearty support of Latinos. Polls showed that almost 90% of local Hispanics supported the San Gabriel Mountains designation. You can’t get 90% of Hispanics to agree that salsa is better than ketchup. But when it comes to nature, we’re overwhelming in our agreement.

Cook_Lake_Bridger_Wilderness

Yes, there are even organizations like Latinos Outdoors, Green Latinos, and HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors), and they have worked for the protection of areas like the San Gabriel Mountains and the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.

So why do Hispanics show all the love for mountains and streams and lakes and trees and such? Well, one theory is that our legendary focus on family drives our desire to maintain the environment for future generations. Another is that because we tend to be recent immigrants, or the offspring of recent immigrants, we have more of a connection to the pristine environs of Latin America.

That certainly makes sense. But I also think it’s because we’re less likely to be right-wing industrial polluters who only care about the bottom line and think climate change is a left-wing conspiracy.

But maybe that’s just me.

 


No Man’s Land

I’m sure you’ve heard the news that Hispanics now make up a record percentage of the American population. The U.S. Census says that one out of every six residents is Latino. Furthermore, in a “surprising show of growth, Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade.”

Yes, Latinos are the chief reason that America has avoided a population decline.

However, not everyone is grateful, or particularly thrilled, about this fact. In fact, quite a few Americans are angry, anxious, or just plain freaked out over the ascendency of Hispanics in the United States.

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Meet the New Boss?

Over the years, I’ve received readers’ comments that range from astute to insane. The thoughtful, the witty, the shrill, and the easily offended have all sent me missives. Both praise and damnation have hit my inbox.

However, only a few comments have prompted me to write a whole post in reply. That short list just got lengthened.

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The New Majority

Let me thank Sanguinity for commenting on my post “It’s Not All About the Music.” I’m grateful whenever someone provides an intellectual, well-researched point to one of my flippant asides. Thanks as well to Juhem, who stumbled upon the site and is inexplicably coming back for more. And here’s some more thanks to Ankhesen for her always great comments.

As a supplement to my previous post about the U.S. Census, I have yet another demographic factoid to amaze and impress you… or alarm and disgust you, depending upon your impression of Latinos.

According to MSNBC, this year could be “the ‘tipping point’ when the number of babies born to minorities outnumbers that of babies born to whites. The numbers are growing because immigration to the U.S. has boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years.”

That’s right: childbearing Latinas are the biggest threat to white supremacy. If demographers are correct, 2015 will be the first kindergarten class in which white kids are outnumbered by Hispanic, black, and Asian children.

Leading the charge will be Latino babies. Well, strictly speaking, they can’t charge. Come on, they can’t even walk. But you know what I’m saying.

As we all know, whites are projected to become the minority circa 2050. For that projection to hold, it stands to reason that minority babies will become more numerous right around… now… actually, now. Yes, it just happened.

Mark your calendars.


No Recounts Are Necessary

The dancing in the streets has subsided since Tuesday. Of course, I remain stunned that we had dancing in the streets at all. Seriously, does anyone remember this kind of orgiastic response over election results? Before this, the standard imagery was supporters in ballrooms laughing and waving signs, but now we see impromptu parades and ecstatic outbursts on street corners and strangers hugging each other in every city in the world. But maybe it just overwhelms in comparison with recent history, because the last two elections provoked either muffled wailing or smug insinuations that God had spoken.

Among last week’s celebrants were Hispanics. Anyone tuning in to more than twelve minutes of television coverage heard how the Latino vote was key to Obama’s win. We even got more air time and credit than the fabled youth vote.

The facts are that Hispanics favored Obama by more than two to one over McCain (67 percent to 31 percent, according to MSNBC). Looking at it another way, Latino voters accounted for 11 percent of Obama’s vote and 6 percent of McCain’s total.

In addition to crunching the raw numbers, MSNBC ran an analysis under the particularly ominous headline “What if there were no Latino voters?” (Indeed, many Republicans are probably muttering that exact phrase).

The analysis found that the Hispanic vote was the difference in New Mexico and Indiana, which means that in a Latino-free world, Obama would have still won the electoral vote but in less decisive fashion. However, being the swing group in two states is pretty cool, and Hispanics continue to exert their prominence in places such as California and Texas.

More interesting still is the fact that the biggest percentage increases in Latino voters happened in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada – all battleground states and all now freshly blue. As the GOP well knows, those states are getting more Hispanic, and those Hispanics are getting more Democratic, especially the younger generation.

Speaking of younger Latinos, they helped Florida become Obama country this year. Our new president won 57 percent of the Hispanic vote in that state, which is astonishing when one considers that the large Cuban American population there has been, in the past, so hardcore Republican that they make Rupert Murdoch look like a gay vegan folksinger in comparison.

Perhaps second- and third-generation Cuban Americans are tired of hearing how voting for the GOP is the only way to stick it to Fidel. They either don’t believe it (Castro is hanging on to power with his last, frenzied breaths and will only be removed through a natural death) or they simply have more pressing concerns, like job losses and collapsing education systems and shoddy health care and a thousand other American issues that have nothing to do with the unresolved, dusty battles of their grandparents.

One final bit of intriguing news comes courtesy of the Pew Hispanic Center. They found that 8 percent of this year’s voters were of the brown-skinned variety. Truthfully, this could have been better, considering that we make up about 14 percent of the population.

Regardless, it’s clear that Latinos, like just about every other demographic except for white evangelicals, were caught up in Obama frenzy this year. The long-term implications for Republicans look grim, as we get younger, more numerous, and more liberal.

And now that we have our first minority president, isn’t it just a matter of time before someone whose last name ends in Z takes the oath of office? It may be years away, but it’s coming.


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