While sharing the dais at a Labor Studies conference in Canada with PAC+ Board Members Greg Cendana and Ana Avendan᷉o, and Karl Flecker, Ana played a video produced by Univision about its U.S. Latino viewers. I’ve watched this video multiple times before, but it always makes me choke up. The part about how playgrounds in Texas would be empty without little Latino kids got me thinking about the children of Texas like my nephews and god daughter.
While such statements about empty playgrounds might sound like an exaggeration, they aren’t. Seven out of ten Texas children under the age of one are Latino. The orange section of this pie chart represents the Texas Latinos. As you can see, there are a lot of them! And they outnumber the White children by quite a bit.
When you add all the Texas kids of color together, they comprise about 2/3 of Texas kids.
With so many of the children being kids of color, the question of how we could be ensuring that these kids are registered to vote as soon as they turn 18 comes to the fore. Since 2010, about half a million Latinos turned 18. Have we registered them to vote yet? Another half a million will turn 18 over the next four years, most of whom will be eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election. By the election of 2020, over 1.7 million Latinos will have turned 18. When you consider that President Obama lost Texas by 1.3 million votes, concerted efforts to bring these new voters into the fold early in their voting careers could make a difference in the 2016 and 2020. And imagine the Return On Investment over these individuals’ lifetime! If we assume that they live to be about 80, on average, they would be able to vote in 15 presidential elections. And given that children of voters may be more likely to become voters themselves, the true impact of such an investment is even greater.