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Local governments have a huge diversity problem

A report from the New American Leaders Project shows that Asians and Latinos are badly underrepresented in state legislatures in almost every state in the union.

This interactive by the NALP shows how many new minority legislators would be needed for each each state to achieve proportionate representation.

The United States has an immigrant population of 70 million (native and foreign born consisting of mainly Asians and Latinos), which accounts for nearly 22 percent of the country's populace and is the fastest growing among all groups. This will soon begin to dwarf other communities. The Pew Research Center estimates that by 2050, only 47 percent of the US population will be non-Hispanic white. This increasing shift in demographics has not been reflected in the election of government officials, but it could be an indicator of things to come.

Although Asians and Latinos are well represented in border states like California, Arizona and New Mexico, representation is more uneven in the East, which also has a areas of concentrated foreign-born population.

Larger minority representation doesn't always mean that interests will be looked after. Arizona, for example has strict border enforcement laws, and its Hispanic base wasn't able to stop the state's 2010 bill, Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, which imposed high penalties on immigrants. Rather, they were only able to dilute some of its extreme clauses. 

The political alienation of Asians and Latino interests has kept them out of local government, but in time, growing immigrant populations could mean larger minority representation in government.

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