New research from Oregon State University points to a change in some of the half-million Latinos who live in Oregon. Young Latinos are retaining the Spanish language at a much higher rate than previous waves of immigrants, or are learning it for the first time.

Idaho is starting to see the education gap narrow for Latino students. That's according to the state's Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Latinos are the fastest growing segment of Idaho’s school system.

The commission's director Margie Gonzalez told a legislative panel the days of double digit drop-out rates for Hispanic kids are gone. More Latinos are enrolling in college. And last month, a national assessment of vocabulary showed huge gains among Hispanic students in Idaho.

Jessica Robinson

Exit polls show Latino voters helped push President Obama to victory on Tuesday. But there was another sign of the growing influence of Hispanics on election day: that was the actual names on many ballots.

Anna King

Just as this year’s Halloween fades into memory, many Northwest Latino families are getting ready for the Day of the Dead. The traditional Mexican holiday is on Friday. Some families blend the two holidays.

Religion Not A Factor In Latino Politics

Oct 5, 2012
Photo by Florangela Davila

Religion is one of the most defining characteristics of Latino culture. But pollsters say it plays virtually no role in how they vote. This week, we've been looking at Latinos in Northwest politics. In our next story, Florangela Davila looks at how faith shapes the lives of two Mexican-American siblings. But not their politics.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

This week we are looking at why Latinos have so little clout in Northwest politics, even though they’re the region’s largest minority group. One reason: Latinos are a younger demographic. And younger people -- no matter what their ethnicity -- are much less likely to vote than older people. But one issue that’s energized many young Latinos is the DREAM Act. It would create a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants. Anna King has our story.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Nearly nine out of 10 city councils across the Northwest have no Latino members. That estimate comes from a database we assembled of Hispanic officeholders in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. One of the cities with no Latino representations is located in one of the most heavily Hispanic parts of our region. We’re talking about the city of Yakima. The ACLU is suing over the issue. Correspondent Austin Jenkins has our latest story on why the region's largest minority group has so little clout in the political arena.

Photo Credit: Chris Lehman

Across the Northwest, Latinos make up nearly 12 percent of the population, but only two percent of the region’s elected officials.

Washington Courts

There’s more evidence that a Hispanic last name on the ballot can hurt a candidate’s chances. A statistical analysis released Wednesday reveals patterns of racially polarized voting in a Supreme Court race on Washington’s August primary.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The ACLU of Washington says at-large city council elections in the city of Yakima dilute the Latino vote and violate the federal Voting Rights Act. The ACLU filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city.