A new crop of Latinos is slowly maturing in cities and communities across the nation. And it's just a matter of time before they turn 18, register to vote, and reshape the political landscape.
Young Latinos who are U.S. citizens and are under the age of 18 make up at least 20 percent of all children in about dozen states, according to an analysis by the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank on Latino issues housed at the University of Southern California.
Not surprisingly, the three states with the highest shares of Latinos aging into the electorate are the Mexican border states of Texas (48 percent), California (51 percent), and New Mexico (58 percent), the report show.
The emergence of these future voters is the result of past immigration trends and high birthrates among Latinos. "The growth of the Latino electorate is not subject to any future decisions on immigration policy," wrote Roberto Suro, director of the institute. "Rather, steady increases in the number of Latino-eligible voters will occur as Latinos already born in the United States as citizens with full voting rights reach voting age."
Beyond the three biggest border states, their growing share in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia has the potential to impact the electoral map of tomorrow. Colorado's proportion of oncoming Latino voters is 30 percent, and Florida's is 27 percent.