By the numbers: ‘twenty50’ and what the U.S. Census predicts

It’s a question of identity, and the answers are in the numbers

Tony Meneses’ world-premiere play twenty50 was sparked by a little heavy reading. A study by the Pew Research Center predicts that by the year 2050, there will no longer be a white majority.

Frankie J. Alvarez, left, and Zeus Mendoza took a break from rehearsal to perform a scene from 'twenty50' for DCPA employees. Photo by John Moore

Frankie J. Alvarez, left, and Zeus Mendoza took a recent break from rehearsal to perform a scene from ‘twenty50’ for DCPA employees. Photo by John Moore.

What will this mean for Latinos — in government, politics and the tug-of-war between different races and ideals?

Meneses’ protagonist, Andres Salazar, grapples with these questions in the DCPA Theatre Company’s upcoming twenty50. As a Congressional contender, he must decide if embracing his Mexican ancestry will help or hinder him on election day.

To prep for this timely, relevant production, we’ve compiled a few demographic facts and projections. Please note, while there are different definitions for the terms “Hispanic” (Spanish-speaking individuals) and “Latino” (persons of Latin American descent), this data has primarily been drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau and Pew Research Center. The Census Bureau uses “Hispanic” exclusively, while the Pew Center uses the terms interchangeably. We have used the terms as they were originally published.

Take a deeper dive into twenty50

  1. The first year the Census Bureau asked everybody in the country about Hispanic ethnicity was in 1980.
  2. The U.S. Hispanic population reached 59.9 million in 2018. It is projected to be the third-fastest growing racial group over the next 40 years, increasing by 115 percent and ultimately accounting for 29 percent of the U.S. population.
  3. Three percent (36.6 million) of U.S. Hispanic residents trace their heritage to Mexico.
  4. A record 32 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote in 2020, up from 27.3 million in 2016. The 2020 election will mark the first time that Hispanics will be the largest racial and ethnic minority group in the electorate, accounting for just more than 13 percent of eligible voters.
  5. Of 535 members of Congress, only 46 (6 percent) are Hispanic, though they represent 18 percent of the overall U.S. population.
  6. Fewer than one-third (31 percent) of Mexican-origin Latinos are foreign born.
  7. More than half of Latinos in the U.S. live in just three states. About 26 percent live in California, followed by Texas (19 percent) and Florida (9 percent). Meanwhile, New Mexico is where Latinos are the highest share of a state’s population (49 percent). It is followed by Texas and California, where 39 percent of their respective populations are Latino.
  8. In Colorado, Hispanics account for 21 percent of the state population (roughly 1.1 million residents).
  9. Hispanics will comprise the largest share of Colorado’s racial and ethnic minority population — more than one-third — by 2050.
  10. While Hispanics account for 21 percent of Colorado’s population, they only hold three seats — or 13 percent — in the State General Assembly.

What are the costs and consequences of cultural assimilation?

Suzanne Yoe is the DCPA’s Director of Comunications & Cultural Affairs.

The making of twenty50: Photo gallery

Frankie J. Alvarez, left, and Zeus Mendoza took a recent break from rehearsal to perform a scene from ‘twenty50’ for DCPA employees. Photo by John Moore.

Go to our complete gallery of twenty50 photos

twenty50twenty50: Ticket information

  • At a glance: In the year 2050, Andres Salazar, an immigrant, is running for congress. In an imagined America where Latinos are now considered part of the racial majority, he has tough decisions to make. Will identifying himself as a Mexican American help or hinder him on Election Day? Will denying part of his identity be worth the potential political benefits? As the campaign forces his mother and daughter to face their own questions of culture and identity, a mysterious stranger arrives. Searching for freedom and running from the law, his appearance jeopardizes everything the family holds dear.
  • Dates: Performances January 31 through March 1 (opens February 7)
  • Where: Space Theatre
  • Genre: Suspenseful thriller
  • Tickets: Start at $30 and can be purchased at 303-893-4100 or in person in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at 14th and Curtis streets or online by clicking here:

Video interview with Playwright Tony Meneses:

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter