South Dakota has zero Latino legislators

The National Conference of State Legislatures recently looked at each state’s number of Latino lawmakers.

South Dakota had zero Latinos in the 105 seats, according to the report. It used 2015 data.

Among our neighbors:

Iowa. zero in 150 seats;

Minnesota. five in 201 seats;

Montana, one in 150 seats;

Nebraska, zero in 49 seats;

North Dakota, zero in 141 seats; and

Wyoming, two in 90 seats.

Other states without any Latino legislators were Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Nationally, the report said, there were 279 Latinos among 7,383 state lawmakers, a rate of four percent. The largest percentages by state were:

New Mexico, with 41 Latinos of 112 legislators, for 37 percent;

Texas, with 41 of 181, for 23 percent;

Arizona, with 19 of 90, for 21 percent;

California, 23 of 120, for 19 percent;

Nevada, nine of 63, for 14 percent and;

Florida, 21 of 160, for 13 percent.

The report reflected current population estimates in comparison to the 2000 U.S. census.

Concluded John Mahoney, the NCSL analyst: “While the Latino American population has steadily climbed from 12.5 percent to 17.1 percent since 2000, the rate of growth among state legislators has been slower, rising only 1 percent over the same period.

“In 2015, 279 state legislators, or 4 percent of all state legislators, identified themselves as Latino, a slight decrease from the 281 Latino members in 2013.” his summary said.