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Latinos Soon to Surpass Non-Hispanic Whites in California

By a slight margin, California's Latinos will soon surpass the non-Hispanic white population in the nation's most populous state.

By March, a state budget report finds, Latinos will make up 39 percent of California's population, compared to 38.8 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

"When this milestone occurs, it will mark the first time since California became a state in 1850 that Latinos are the Golden State’s single largest racial or ethnic group," writes Pew Hispanic's Mark Hugo Lopez.

These figures are not a surprise; in fact, this was supposed to happen last year, but Hispanic birth rates were lower than was originally projected.

This new data does not mean Latino groups will become the majority of California's residents. At 39 percent, they are the plurality, making up the largest percentage of any racial or ethnic group.

For the state's Latinos, the evolving demographic changes have led to an assessment of their increasing role shaping the future of their community.

“More now that ever, the state’s economic future is tied with that of Latinos,” said Helen Torres, executive director of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), a group working to increase the number of Latinas in elected and appointed office in California, in a previous interview with NBC Latino.