NY1's series on the 2010 U.S. Census explores the impact that a growing Hispanic population has on Bronx politics. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
In keeping with the trend, Hispanics continued their growth in the Bronx with a 15 percent jump in the last 10 years. The population now stands at 741,000.
Luis Miranda, a political strategist, says this increase in numbers means an increase in political power.
“Now that we are facing redistricting and new political districts are going to be redrawn throughout the city, that means that there will be more concentration of more powerful Latino districts in the Bronx, allowing the possibility of electing more Latinos to the state Legislature to the City Council,” says Miranda.
Miranda adds that because of the population surge, the Bronx in turn becomes a stop on campaign trails.
“It is a place where you have to go to court a segment of the population that has become important throughout the state,” says Miranda.
Still, about 20 percent of Hispanics in the Bronx are not citizens and more than 30 percent are under 18, thereby reducing the electorate. There are other concerns, as well.
“One of the major tasks that Latinos face is to make sure that more and more, or a greater percentage of Latinos who are eligible to vote register to vote and actually go to the polls,” says CUNY Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies Director Laird Bergad.
Historically, Miranda says 12 to 15 percent of the vote in the city is Hispanic. In 2001, however, it was 24 percent, with former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer in the race for mayor.
“Which show us two things: one, that when you as a candidate speak about the issues that affect us, we come out to vote, and two, that there is a proud factor that enters into the picture if you have a qualified Latino or Latina. Latinos will increase their voting participation,” says Miranda.