From left, Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Jorge Baldor, Latino CLD founder and SMU alumnus (’93); Joshua Rovner, acting director of SMU’s Tower Center; and Miguel Solis, Latino CLD.(Photo by Hillsman S. Jackson / SMU)
Key Research Findings Underscore Need
for Forward-Thinking Policy Planning Work
Recent studies by the Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau and other organizations show how the rising numbers of Latinos are greatly impacting the U.S. demographic electorate, business and health care landscape. Consider:
- For the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 28 million Latinos will be eligible to vote, up 18 percent from 2012.
- The median age of all U.S. Latinos, 29, is much younger other U.S. ethnic groups. For Latinos born in the U.S., the average age is even younger: 18.
- If the U.S. Latino market were its own country, it would be the 13th largest. But a tremendous wealth gap exists between ethnic races.
- After 40 years of rapid growth, the number of Latino immigrants in the U.S. reached a record 18.8 million in 2010, but has since stalled. Since 2000, the U.S.-born Latino population has grown at a faster rate than the immigrant population. And in 2014, about as many people from Mexico were leaving the U.S. as entering it.
- Over the last 45 years, the U.S. Latino population has increased six-fold, from 9.1 million in 1970 to 55 million in 2014, or about 17.4 percent of the total U.S. population (319 million).
- By 2060, Latinos are projected to account for nearly 30 percent of the total U.S. population (417 million).
September 16, 2015
DALLAS (SMU) – On the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month, SMU’s
John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies announced it has formed a strategic academic partnership with the Latino Center for Leadership Development (Latino CLD).
The new Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Program will identify and implement policy-focused solutions to the Latino community’s most pressing concerns, from educational and economic opportunities, to voting rights and immigration reform, to the under-representation of Latinos in elected and appointed roles at the federal,
state and local levels, as well as corporate boards.
As part of this unique partnership, the Latino CLD will provide SMU’s Tower Center with $900,000 over five years. The funding will allow the new program to attract and engage scholars and thought leaders in an interdisciplinary think-tank, creating a framework to analyze and develop policy priorities, provide public forums and outreach, and support greater understanding and influence for the Latino community.
“America is in the midst of a fundamental, Latino-driven demographic shift,” said Latino CLD founder and SMU alumnus Jorge Baldor ’93, citing Pew Research Center reports that Latinos will represent about 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2060. “With the growing number of Latinos comes a reciprocal responsibility to lead,” he said, adding, “Latino CLD is focused on developing the next generation of those leaders.”
The Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Program will work in three major areas:
- Provide influential voices and data to support research on policy issues
- Offer two-year appointments for postdoctoral scholars who will research and publish their findings on public policy issues
- Provide research grants and public seminars to promote stronger community understanding and dialogue about key societal issues
The relationship between the new SMU policy program and Latino CLD also will allow promising leaders, such as those within the Latino CLD’s new Leadership Academy, “to develop as individuals and hone network skills necessary to assume positions of influence” while focused on policy and politics to help people from all spectrums of society, Baldor said.
“The Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Program will provide an excellent opportunity to combine our expertise to focus on contemporary policy matters of major interest to this country’s diverse, growing Latino community,” said Joshua Rovner, director of studies at the Tower Center in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
“As a hub for social-scientific issues, we will play a major role in cutting through the cacophony of numbers related to the Latino community, letting us take big issues and quickly drill down to ideas for thoughtful solutions and policy implementation,”
The announcement of the new policy program follows on the heels of the Tower Center’s Sept. 8 launch of its new Texas-Mexico Program during Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s historic visit to Mexico.
“SMU is becoming a major presence in Latino-focused research and education,” said Thomas DiPiero, dean of Dedman College. “It’s also a propitious moment to bring new expertise and scholarship to bear both nationally and locally,” he said, noting that the Dallas-Fort Worth region, with 7 million people, is the nation’s fourth-largest population center, and growing rapidly.
“Looking ahead, the success of this program will allow SMU and the Latino CLD to contribute vital public policy research while based in DFW — a U.S. political and economic center of gravity with strong global connections,” DiPiero said.
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SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.
About the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies
In the spirit of John Tower’s commitment to educate and inspire a new generation of thoughtful leaders, the Tower Center seeks to bridge the gap between the world of ideas, scholarship and teaching, as well as the practice of politics. The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. The Tower Center is an academic center where all parties and views are heard in a marketplace of ideas, and the Center pursues its mission in a non-partisan manner.
About the Latino Center for Leadership Development
Latino CLD is a privately funded foundation with a vision of developing future leaders with an understanding of Latino-focused policies and actionable items for solutions resulting from such partnerships as the Latino CLD–SMU Tower Center Policy Program.
The three pillars of Latino CLD involve the annual Leadership Academy, which brings together national future leaders; a policy program; and ongoing strategic initiatives to address critical current topics, including KeepHB1403.com, which led bi-partisan efforts to preserve in-state tuition at Texas universities for all of the state’s residents.