By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service
This story was originally published by Public News Service.
Community groups are preparing to help lawmakers draw new political maps, based on just-released census numbers.
The data shows that Nevada is now the third most diverse state in the nation, behind Hawaii and California. The state population now identifies as 51.2% white, almost 29% Hispanic or Latino, and 11.4% Asian.
Noe Orosco, census and redistricting coordinator with the group Silver State Voices, said the new maps could lead to more lawmakers of color, especially Latinos.
“It is one of the largest growing demographics in the country,” said Orosco. “Then we would like to make sure that it is going to be reflected at the legislature in terms of the elected officials. “
The new maps – that will be in use for the next ten years – will be drawn during a special session of the legislature. Lawmakers are expected to solicit public testimony and consider sample maps from the community.
Learn more about how to get involved at Nevadanscount.org.
The Nevadans Count coalition is working with local groups to prepare for redistricting. Orosco said communities of interest can speak up – and guard against any attempt to gerrymander districts and dilute their influence.
“So they can say, ‘here is my community, here are the physical boundaries,'” said Orosco. “‘And when you are redrawing the district, we want you to take our physical boundaries into consideration so that our communities are not divided into multiple districts.'”
Nevada now has more than 3.1 million residents – 15% more than in 2010, which is the fifth largest percent population increase in the nation. More than 22% are under age 18.
The new numbers mean Nevada will see a spike in federal funding for education, healthcare and more.