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The Politics of Prosperity: A Look into California’s Latino Representation Challenge

Nearly 15 million Latinos call California home. Having surpassed the state’s white population in 2014 with 39 percent of the total population, it is now the most concentrated Latino population in the United States.

However, this significant boost in population has seen very little translation to civic engagement or elected representation. While Latinos have seen progress in both the level of representation and their capacity to secure leadership positions, Latinos still lag significantly in representation at all levels of California government, especially the local level.

Percentage of Elected Offices Held by Latinos in California:

  • US Senate: 0

  • Congressional: 18.9 percent

  • State Constitutional Office: 12.5 percent

  • State Senate: 12.5 percent

  • State Assembly: 23.8 percent

  • County Supervisors: 10.1 percent

  • City Council: 14.7 percent

  • School Board: 13.5 percent

Furthermore, Latinos lag the general population in key indicators of economic wellbeing.

This report explores the disconnect between this growing population and its low involvement in civic, voting and political life, as well as the underlying issues of poverty, unemployment, education, homeownership and other social indicators that may contribute to this lack of civic engagement.

Please direct Press inquiries to press@leadershipcaliforniainstitute.org.