Latinos Still Underrepresented in CA Government, Poverty at Issue

A report by the Leadership California Institute and the Legislative Latino Caucus shows that while the Latino population in the state is 39 percent, only 10 percent of county supervisors and less than 15 percent of city council members are Latino.

The report,The Politics of Prosperity: A Look into California’s Latino Representation Challenge, was compiled with information from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and is based off data ending January 2015. It encompasses six key factors affecting Latinos: poverty, unemployment, home ownership, high school dropout rate, registered voter turnout, and elected official representation at county, city, and school levels.

According to the report, poverty plays a big role for Latino representation.  The poverty rate in California is high for Latinos—12 points higher than any other group. Cities with high poverty rates tend to have less Latino representation. According to the report, 60 cities have a Latino poverty rate above 30 percent. Only 20 of these have any Latino on the city council.

Additionally, poverty not only correlates to low representation, but there also a relationship between low voter turnout. Areas with low Latino representation unsurprisingly have low Latino voter turnout.

There is also a correlation between unemployment and representation. More than 300 cities see Latino unemployment higher than the general population. And those cities with Latino unemployment that is 5 percent higher than their peers have only four elected Latino city officials.

The report also highlights that Latinos mostly identify as Democrat. Nearly 70 percent are Dems, but only a little more than 40 percent of all city official are Democrats.

Overall, it seems there is still more work that needs to be done in order for local and state government to be reflective of the population.

Read the full report here.