Blog Post

Colorado Latinos Have Higher Civic Engagement than National Average

A new study shows that Colorado Hispanics are more engaged in civic activities than Hispanics nationally. The report also offers insights for more effective outreach to the Latino community.
October 1, 2015
Denver-based nonprofit Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO) looked at Colorado Hispanics’ political involvement, volunteerism, public meeting attendance, neighborhood interactions and other indicators.
Among the key findings:
  • In the 2012 presidential election, 52 percent of eligible Latinos in Colorado voted, versus 48 percent of Latinos nationally.
  • Twenty percent of Colorado Latinos regularly volunteer, compared to 16 percent nationally.
  • Eight percent of Latinos in Colorado frequently use the Internet to express public opinion, versus six percent nationally.

Additionally, a higher percentage of Latinos in Colorado participate in service or civic associations.

That said, overall, Latino civic involvement lags behind that of non-Latinos. The reasons for this are complex and interrelated, including generally lower levels of educational attainment, citizenship status, community trust and social cohesion.
But perhaps the report’s most interesting finding shows promising opportunities for effective community engagement among Latino youth, who access social networking sites at higher rates (80 percent) than non-Latino whites (70 percent) and African Americans (75 percent).
The report’s conclusions highlight the opportunity for communicators, policymakers, public agencies and community leaders to develop strategies to engage and mobilize Colorado’s Latino population.
But how?
Build a network of influencers. Denver is home to a strong network of excellent nonprofit organizations that serve and empower the city’s large and growing Latino population. These organizations, including the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mi Casa Resource Center, the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, CLLARO and many others, offer an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of Latino issues and build relationships with community influencers.
Be present in the community. There are no shortcuts to effective community outreach; it’s about building relationships. To be successful, we must be present at the places, events and institutions that Latinos frequent and trust. Think community resource events, schools, churches, Latino-owned businesses, Hispanic media, etc.
Recognize the diversity and strategize accordingly. Colorado’s Latino population is not monolithic and includes great demographic, psychographic and socioeconomic diversity. Any effective outreach strategy must carefully consider its audience and craft messages and strategies that will be relevant to them. A one-size-fits-all approach to Latino community outreach will net very limited returns.
CLLARO conducted the study in collaboration with the National Conference on Citizenship.

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