April 26, 2011

Census Data on Hispanic Voters

Latinos represent 16.3% of the U.S. population, but were only 7% of the voters in last November’s elections, according to a report based on census data that was released today by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. This disparity in population and electorate proportions is driven by essentially two factors in the Hispanic population: Youth and non-citizenship.

To be sure, more than 6.6 million Latinos voted last November, a record for a midterm election. And the Latino share of the electorate has risen; it was 6% in 2006. But because so many Hispanics are under age 18 (35%) and so many adult Hispanics are not citizens (22%), “the share of the Latino population that is eligible to vote is smaller than it is among any other group,” according to the report. In addition, Latino turnout was lower than that of white or black voters; one reason is that a large share of Hispanic voters are under 30, and this group tends to participate in elections less than older voters do. The report also analyzes turnout by Latino sub-group, examines numbers in states that allow early voting and compares reasons why people say they did not vote.

The data for this report–“The Latino Electorate in 2010: More Voters, More Non-Voters”–are derived from the November Voting and Registration Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of about 55,000 households conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Author of the report is Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center.