2020 Census Shows Demographic Changes That May Change How Politicians Craft Policy

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Sunday, August 15, 2021 - 6:06pm
Updated: Monday, August 16, 2021 - 8:49am
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The results of the 2020 U.S. census were released last week. 

The results showed a growing number of people identifying as mixed-race in Maricopa County.

Eileen Diaz McConnell is President's Professor in the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. 

She says the growth in those identifying as mixed-race has many components, including how the census presented race identification questions, like changing some multiple choice questions to a short answer format.

“The way that the Census Bureau asked about race and ethnicity changed, they added more examples. They change the coding, the way they code responses,” said McConnell.

McConnell says an increase in interracial marriages, cultural shifts toward people identifying with more complex backgrounds, and parents choosing how to identify their children are some of the additional components in the demographic shift.

McConnell also thinks those changing demographics will influence the policy decisions of local politicians.

The number of people who identify as Hispanic and Latino in Arizona has only increased from 29% of the population to 30% since 2010, but that change comes in the form of 300,000 people.

“Increasingly, policymakers in Arizona specifically, are going to need to see the fact that their constituencies are changing, and that every day, right, how many 1000s of people are turning 18, and many are fired up to vote,” said McConnell.

McConnell says young Hispanic and Latino people have endured anti-immigrant sentiment growing up in Arizona, which has created a motivated generation of voters.

Politics Social Justice