Re “Population up, state keeps House seats: Mass. leads New England in growth, census figures reveal” (Page A1, April 27): It’s good news that, for now, New England will maintain its 21 seats in the House of Representatives. But the fact is that without Latinos, that wouldn’t be the case.
From 2010 to 2017, the Latino population of Massachusetts increased by 28 percent. This represented about 60 percent of all population growth in the Commonwealth, according to the Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Across the border in Rhode Island, data show that that state’s population would have declined without Latino growth, which could have led to the loss of a congressional seat.
Projections by researchers show that by 2035 the Latino population in Massachusetts will grow to more than 1.15 million, representing nearly 15.3 percent of the population, and that this growth will be due more to future Massachusetts births than to international migration.
Our diverse and growing Latino community has made tremendous contributions to our state’s cultural and economic life, but its potential is even greater. Historically, Latinos have been underrepresented in government and, as the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated all too well, often underrecognized for their critical places in our society.
Our region’s future demographic strength is Latino, and our future vitality will depend on tapping into that wellspring of human capital, knowledge, and determination to create a just and equitable region that supports it.
The writer is cofounder of the Latino Equity Fund and cochair of the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund at The Boston Foundation.