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Reading mayoral candidate Eddie Moran declared victory in the primary on May 21. Photo: 6ABC
Reading mayoral candidate Eddie Moran declared victory in the primary on May 21. Photo: 6ABC/WFMZ

What the Hispanic voter bloc looks like in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia

The number of Hispanic voters will continue growing and making impacts in the city and state.

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As previously reported at AL DÍA, on the national level, Hispanics will outpace African-Americans for the first time during the 2020 elections to become the largest minority voting bloc in the U.S. With a population of 58.9 million people and a projected eligible voter count of 30 to 32 million people, Hispanics will hold roughly 13 percent of the electorate.

According to census estimates, there are approximately 930,000 Hispanics in Pennsylvania, or 7.3 percent of its 12.8 million total population. This number is up 100,000 from a 2014 study cited by Pew in an article detailing the Hispanic population in Pennsylvania in preparation for the 2016 election. In 2014, Pennsylvania ranked tenth in the nation regarding eligible Hispanic voters with 440,000.

Philadelphia county has the highest Hispanic population of any county in the state at 235,000, or approximately 15 percent of the total population. However, turnout has been a major issue in Philadelphia’s Hispanic communities. District 7, home to the largest Hispanic population in the city also has the lowest voter turnout.

Low voter turnout is a problem for Hispanic communities across the country. In a recent AP article about their potential impact on the upcoming 2020 Democratic primaries, Matt Barreto, co-founder of Hispanic polling firm Latino Decisions, blames low turnout statistics on the predominantly younger Hispanic population, citing how “young people of all backgrounds are less likely to vote” in general.

Despite low turnout, the population is one that has gained significant political power in numbers over the last elections, and looks poised to continue that growth into the future. Outside of Philadelphia, the Hispanic vote is translating into more latinx leaders in local governments in the state.

In Reading, PA, where Latinos make up the majority (64.7 percent) of the population, Democratic voters nominated Eddie Moran for mayor over incumbent, Wally Scott. He will face Republican Louis Perugini in the Nov. 5 general election and if he wins, will be the city’s first Latino mayor.

Elsewhere in Kennett Square, PA—a small town in Chester County, PA where the Hispanic population sits close to 50 percent—voters nominated two latinas for the borough’s council. Mayra Zavala and Rosa Garza Moore will both compete again in November’s general election.

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