In this blog post, co-director of the Institute for Latino Studies, Luis Ricardo Fraga, focuses on the obligation society’s leaders have to provide the younger Latino community with opportunities to take lead and develop a state of responsibility for their community’s future.
It is well-accepted that the primary reason America will become a nation with increasing ethnic and racial diversity is because of the continued growth in its Latino population. At present Latinos are an estimated 17 percent of the US population and by 2050, depending on variations in immigration and birth rates, are likely to be 25 percent of all people living in the US.
What is much less well-known is that since the decade between 1990 and 2000, the primary cause of Latino population growth has been the birth of US-citizen Latino children, not Latino immigrants coming to the US. Even less well known is that of all Latinos in the United States who are under the age of 18, a full 94 percent are born in the country. What these facts suggest is that it is beneficial to the nation if its leaders in government, education, churches, and community-based organizations develop strategies for younger Latinos to become well-informed, participatory, civically engaged citizens, able to directly contribute to the public life of the United States when they become adults.
During a recent convening of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program, we discussed this very issue and why during an election year, when all eyes are on candidates, campaigns, and political parties, the issue of Latino youth civic education is not only relevant but critically important.
Originally published by Institute for Latino Studies at latinostudies.nd.edu on September 16, 2016.