US Census: Hispanic children now majority in California

Ruby Acosta and Daniel Sandoval talk outside a travel shop in Santa Ana, California on 8 March 2011 The latest figures are set to have a political impact

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More than half of California's children are now of Hispanic origin, according to the US Census Bureau.

The latest data from the 2010 census shows that Latinos and Asians accounted for most of the population growth in California over the past decade.

The number of Hispanics rose 28% to 14 million, reaching near parity with non-Hispanic whites, while Asians grew 31%.

California remains the biggest state, growing to 37.3 million, but not enough for additional seats in Congress.

The detailed figures from the 2010 US Census shows that Hispanics now account for 38% of California's population, almost equal with the 40% of non-Hispanic whites.

These number 15 million, a drop of 5% on the previous census.

The Asian population now stands at 4.8 million, while the non-Hispanic black population is down 1% at 2.2 million.

Redrawing districts

The state's Hispanic population under 18 years of age increased 17%, while the number of non-Hispanic white children fell 21% over the past decade.

"Hispanics are the future of California," William Frey from the Brookings Institution told the Washington Post.

"Any local or state initiatives that have to do with education need to reach out to this population."

California grew by some 10% over the past decade, on par with the national average.

Shoppers cross between the Asian Garden Mall and Asian Village shopping centre in Westminster, California, on Tuesday, 8 March 2011 Asians were the fastest-growing group in California

But it was not enough for the state to pick up more seats in the House of Representatives.

This contrasts with the next biggest state, Texas, whose population grew nearly 19% to 25 million and has gained an extra four congressional seats.

The figures released on Tuesday also show a shift in population within California.

Inland areas registered more growth rather than the traditional centres such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The census figures are also used to redraw legislative and congressional districts within states.

The 2010 Census figures will have more impact than before because for the first time an independent body, the Citizens Redistricting Commission, will be responsible for setting the boundaries for districts represented in California's Senate and Assembly.

Previously, districts were redrawn by politicians.

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