The Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of the U.S. Electorate

In battleground states, Hispanics grew extra than other racial or ethnic groups as a share of qualified voters

September twenty third 2020


The forthcoming 2020 presidential election has drawn renewed notice to how demographic shifts across the United States have improved the composition of the citizens.

For this facts essay, we analyzed national and state-stage shifts in the racial and ethnic make-up of the United States citizens involving 2000 and 2018, with a concentration on essential battleground states in the forthcoming 2020 election. The examination is largely based mostly on facts from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Group Survey and the 2000 U.S. decennial census supplied through Integrated Public Use Microdata Sequence (IPUMS) from the College of Minnesota.

See right here to read the facts essay’s methodology for further facts on our facts sources.

Eligible voters refer to persons ages eighteen and older who are U.S. citizens. They make up the voting-qualified population or citizens. The terms qualified votersvoting qualifiedthe citizens and voters are utilized interchangeably in this report.

Registered voters are qualified voters who have completed all the documentations vital to vote in an forthcoming election.

Voter turnout refers to the amount of people today who say they voted in a offered election.

Voter turnout rate refers to the share of qualified voters who say they voted in a offered election.

Naturalized citizens are lawful long-lasting people who have fulfilled the length of keep and other needs to develop into U.S. citizens and who have taken the oath of citizenship.

The terms Latino and Hispanic are utilized interchangeably in this report. Hispanics are of any race.

References to AsiansBlacks and Whites are single-race and refer to the non-Hispanic elements of these populations.

Battleground states incorporate Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. These states have been discovered by Pew Study Center utilizing ratings from a selection of sources, see the methodology for extra facts.

In all 50 states, the share of non-Hispanic White qualified voters declined involving 2000 and 2018, with ten states experiencing double-digit drops in the share of White qualified voters. Through that very same period, Hispanic voters have appear to make up progressively larger shares of the citizens in every single state. These gains are especially large in the Southwestern U.S., wherever states like Nevada, California and Texas have found immediate expansion in the Hispanic share of the citizens more than an eighteen-year period.

These tendencies are also especially notable in battleground states – this sort of as Florida and Arizona – that are most likely to be very important in choosing the 2020 election. In Florida, two-in-10 qualified voters in 2018 have been Hispanic, nearly double the share in 2000. And in the rising battleground state of Arizona, Hispanic adults designed up about just one-quarter (24%) of all qualified voters in 2018, up 8 proportion details because 2000.

To be positive, the demographic composition of an place does not tell the total tale. Patterns in voter registration and voter turnout range widely by race and ethnicity, with White adults traditionally extra most likely to be registered to vote and to convert out to vote than other racial and ethnic groups. Furthermore, every single presidential election delivers its individual exceptional set of conditions, from the individual properties of the candidates, to the financial system, to historic occasions this sort of as a world-wide pandemic. Nonetheless, comprehension the modifying racial and ethnic composition in essential states assists to deliver clues for how political winds may possibly shift more than time.

Black, Hispanic and Asian registered voters traditionally lean Democratic

The techniques in which these demographic shifts may shape electoral results are closely connected to the distinctive partisan tastes of distinct racial and ethnic groups. Pew Study Center survey facts spanning extra than two a long time demonstrates that the Democratic Occasion maintains a broad and extensive-standing edge among the Black, Hispanic and Asian American registered voters. Among White voters, the partisan equilibrium has been commonly secure more than the earlier ten years, with the Republican Occasion keeping a slight edge.

All major racial and ethnic voter groups lean Democratic, except Whites

Nationwide exit polling facts tells a related tale to partisan identification, with White voters showing a slight and pretty regular desire towards Republican candidates in presidential elections more than the final forty years, while Black voters have solidly supported the Democratic contenders. Hispanic voters have also traditionally been extra most likely to assistance Democrats than Republican candidates, even though their assistance has not been as regular as that of Black voters.

These racial and ethnic groups are by no signifies monolithic. There is a wealthy diversity of views and experiences within just these groups, from time to time various based mostly on country of origin. For example, Pew Study Center’s 2018 Nationwide Survey of Latinos identified that Hispanic qualified voters of Puerto Rican and/or Mexican descent – no matter of voter registration standing – have been extra most likely than these of Cuban descent to determine as Democrats or lean towards the Democratic Occasion (sixty five% of Puerto Rican Individuals and fifty nine% of Mexican Individuals vs. 37% of Cuban Individuals discovered as Democrats). A majority of Cuban qualified voters discovered as or leaned towards the Republican Occasion (fifty seven%).

Among Asian American registered voters, there are also some variations in bash identification by origin group. For occasion, Vietnamese Individuals are extra most likely than Asians general to determine as Republican, while the reverse is real among the Indian Individuals, who tend to lean extra Democratic.

Higher voter turnout among White and Black voters in presidential elections

Supplied these variations within just racial and ethnic groups, the relative share of distinct origin groups within just a precise state can influence the partisan leanings of that state’s citizens. For example, in Florida, Republican-leaning Cubans had traditionally been the premier Hispanic origin group. Even so, more than the earlier ten years, the extra Democratic-leaning Puerto Ricans have been the state’s speediest-increasing Hispanic-origin group, and they now rival Cubans in measurement. At the very same time, in states like California and Nevada, Mexican Individuals, who tend to lean Democratic, are the dominant Hispanic origin group.

Partisan alignment does not tell the total tale when it will come to voting patterns. Voter turnout charges – or the share of U.S. citizens ages eighteen and older who cast a ballot – also range widely across racial and ethnic groups. White adults traditionally have had the maximum rate of voter turnout: About two-thirds of qualified White adults (sixty five%) voted in the 2016 election. Black adults have also traditionally had relatively substantial charges of voter turnout, even though commonly somewhat decrease than White adults. There was an exception to this sample in 2008 and 2012, when Black voter turnout matched or exceeded that of Whites. By distinction, Asian and Hispanic adults have had traditionally decrease voter turnout charges, with about 50 percent reporting that they voted in 2016.

White and Black adults are also extra most likely than Hispanic and Asian adults to say that they are registered to vote.

Non-White qualified voters accounted for extra than 3-quarters of full U.S. citizens expansion because 2000

The non-White voting population has played a large position in driving expansion in the nation’s citizens. From 2000 to 2018, the nation’s qualified voter population grew from 193.4 million to million – an improve of forty.three million. Voters who are Hispanic, Black, Asian or yet another race or ethnicity accounted for extra than 3-quarters (76%) of this expansion.

Most of the growth in the electorate since 2000 has come from Hispanic, Black and Asian eligible voters

The considerable proportion position improve of voters who are not White as a share of the country’s general citizens was mostly driven by 2nd-technology Individuals – the U.S.-born kids of immigrants – coming of age, as nicely as immigrants naturalizing and becoming qualified to vote. The improve has been continuous more than the earlier eighteen years – from 2000 to 2010, their share rose by 4 proportion details (from 24% to 28%), while from 2010 to 2018, their share further grew by five details (up from 28% to 33%).

Hispanic qualified voters have been notably the premier contributors to the electorate’s rise. They by itself accounted for 39% of the general improve of the nation’s qualified voting population. Hispanic voters designed up 13% of the country’s general citizens in 2018 – nearly doubling from seven% in 2000. The population’s share grew steadily because 2000, with related proportion position expansion observed involving 2000 and 2010 (three details) and 2010 and 2018 (three details).

The Hispanic electorate’s expansion largely stemmed from their U.S.-born population coming of age. The 12.4 million Hispanics who turned eighteen involving 2000 and 2018 accounted for 80% of the expansion among the the population’s qualified voters for the duration of these years. The group’s sustained expansion more than the earlier two a long time will make Hispanics the projected premier minority group among the U.S. qualified voters in 2020 for the first time in a presidential election.

Asian qualified voters also observed a important rise in their figures, expanding from 4.six million in 2000 to ten.three million in 2018. And related to Hispanics, their nearly two-ten years expansion has been relatively regular. The population’s share in the citizens grew at related charges from 2000 to 2010 and from 2010 to 2018 (one position just about every). In 2018, Asian qualified voters designed up 4% of the nation’s citizens (up from two% in 2000), the smallest share out of all main racial and ethnic groups. Naturalized immigrants – a group that helps make up two-thirds of the Asian American citizens – are the most important driver of the Asian electorate’s expansion. From 2000 to 2018, the amount of naturalized Asian immigrant voters extra than doubled – from three.three million to six.nine million – and their expansion by itself accounted for 64% of the general expansion in the Asian citizens.

Irrespective of notable expansion in the non-White qualified voter population, non-Hispanic White voters even now designed up the large majority (67%) of the U.S. citizens in 2018. Even so, they observed the smallest expansion rate out of all racial ethnic groups from 2000 to 2018, producing their share to shrink by nearly ten proportion details.

Shares of non-Hispanic White qualified voters have declined in all 50 states

The general decline in the shares of the non-Hispanic White qualified voter population can be observed across all states. (There has not been a decline in the District of Columbia.) Whilst this trend is not new, it is playing out to various levels across the country, with some states experiencing especially important shifts in the racial and ethnic composition of their citizens.

In full involving 2000 and 2018, ten states observed a ten proportion position or increased decline in the share of White qualified voters. In Nevada, the White share of the citizens fell eighteen proportion details more than pretty much two a long time, the premier drop among the all 50 states. The decline in the White share of the citizens in Nevada has been pretty continuous, with a comparable proportion position decline observed involving 2000 and 2010 (ten details) and 2010 and 2018 (8 details). California has expert a in the same way sharp decline in the White share of the citizens, dropping 15 proportion details because 2000. This has resulted in California modifying from a majority White citizens in 2000 to a state wherever White voters have been a minority share of the citizens in 2018 (sixty% in 2000 to 45% in 2018), even though they even now are the premier racial or ethnic group in the citizens.

Latinos vote at a polling station in Los Angeles. (David McNew/Getty Images)
Latinos vote at a polling station in Los Angeles. (David McNew/Getty Visuals)

Even with declines in all 50 states, White qualified voters even now make up the majority of most states’ electorates. In forty seven states, more than 50 percent of qualified voters are White. The only exceptions are California, New Mexico and Hawaii, wherever White voters account for 45%, 43% and 25% of just about every respective state’s citizens.

As reflected on the national stage, Hispanic qualified voters have been the most important drivers of the racial and ethnic diversification of most states’ electorates. In 39 states involving 2000 and 2018, Hispanic qualified voters observed the premier proportion position improve compared with any other racial or ethnic group. In 3 further states – Alaska, Kentucky and Ohio – Hispanic voters have been tied with yet another racial group for the maximum improve. 5 states that observed the premier expansion in Hispanic shares in their electorates have been California (eleven proportion details), Nevada (ten details), Florida (nine details), Arizona (8 details) and Texas (8 details).

The amount of Black qualified voters nationwide grew only somewhat in the earlier eighteen years. Even so, Black voters observed the premier proportion position improve out of any other racial and ethnic group in 3 states in the Southeast: Georgia (five details), Delaware (4 details) and Mississippi (4 details).

As for Asian qualified voters, they observed robust expansion in California (five proportion details), Nevada and New Jersey (4 details just about every) involving 2000 and 2018. Even so, their share raises paled in comparison to the Hispanic electorate’s expansion in these states. In general, Asians observed their shares improve in the electorates of every single state besides Hawaii, wherever their share dropped by 4 proportion details. Nonetheless, Hawaii has the maximum proportion of Asians in its citizens – 38% of all qualified voters in the state are Asian.

Racial and ethnic adjust among the qualified voters in battleground states

As the 2020 presidential election attracts in close proximity to, these demographic shifts are especially notable in some essential battleground states, wherever variations in the composition of the citizens could have an influence on electoral results.

Pace of racial and ethnic change varies widely across key battleground states

Nationally, Florida and Arizona observed the third- and fourth-premier declines in the shares of non-Hispanic White qualified voters. The White shares of the citizens in these states just about every stood at about six-in-10 in 2018, down from about 3-quarters at the get started of the century. Four other battleground states – Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan – also observed declines in the share of White qualified voters involving 2000 and 2018, even though to a lesser extent.

In Florida, a state that has been pivotal to every single U.S. presidential victory in the final twenty years, the White share of the citizens has fallen 13 proportion details because 2000. At the very same time, the Hispanic share of the citizens has absent up nine details, increasing from eleven% of qualified Florida voters in 2000 to twenty% in 2018. Through this very same period, the Black share of the citizens in Florida has enhanced two proportion details and the Asian share has enhanced by one position.

Arizona, mostly found as an rising battleground state, has found considerable adjust to the racial and ethnic composition of its citizens. Hispanic adults now make up about just one-quarter of all qualified voters (24%), an 8-position improve because 2000.

Several battleground states have found more compact – even though even now probably significant – variations to the demographic composition of the citizens. In Pennsylvania, the White share of the citizens fell seven proportion details while the Hispanic share of the citizens rose three details from 2000 to 2018. And in North Carolina, a state that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and beforehand went for Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Monthly bill Clinton, the White share of the citizens fell from seventy five% in 2000 to sixty nine% in 2018. Through the very same time period, the Hispanic share of the citizens rose to 4% (up three details because 2000) and the Black share of the citizens rose to 22% (up one position because 2000).

Demographic variations could carry on to reshape the electoral landscape in long term elections. Whilst Texas is not at this time deemed a battleground state, demographic shifts have led some to ponder if the state could develop into extra competitive politically down the road. In 2018, 3-in-10 qualified voters in Texas have been Hispanic – that is up 8 proportion details because 2000. Through that very same time, the share of White qualified voters in Texas fell 12 details, from 62% in 2000 to a bare majority (51%) in 2018.

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