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The Pew Hispanic Center released Monday a report claiming a record 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the project of the Pew Research Center.
There are 5.9 million Hispanic eligible voters in California—the largest Hispanic eligible voter population nationally. Texas ranks second with 4.2 million.
From their press release:
"This is up by more than 4 million, or 22%, since 2008, when 19.5 million Latinos were eligible to vote.
Due to their ongoing population growth, Latinos comprise a greater share of the nation’s eligible voters than they did just a few years ago—11.0% this year, up from 9.5% in 2008 and 8.2% in 2004 (Lopez and Taylor, 2009).
However, the turnout rate of eligible Latino voters has historically lagged that of whites and blacks by substantial margins. In 2008, for example, 50% of eligible Latino voters cast ballots, compared with 65% of blacks and 66% of whites (Lopez and Taylor, 2009).
Also, despite Latino population growth, the number of Latinos who said they are registered to vote fell by about 600,000 between 2008 and 2010, according to Census Bureau data. This was the only significant decline in the number of Latino registered voters in the past two decades.2
There is not yet any nationwide data on Latino voter registration levels so far in 2012. In the only four states that report such records by ethnicity—Alabama,Florida, Georgia andNorth Carolina—the 2012 registration levels of Hispanics have already surpassed the 2008 levels. However, these states are not necessarily representative of the nation as a whole; more so than most other states, they have experienced very rapid growth in their Hispanic population in recent years.
Latinos are the nation’s largest minority group. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 there were 51.9 million Latinos in the U.S., making up 16.7% of the nation’s population.
As the number of Latino eligible voters has grown, so too has the number of Latinos casting votes in presidential elections. In 2008, 9.7 million Latinos cast a vote—a record then, and up from 7.6 million in 2004, also a record year.3 In addition, Latinos represent a growing share of voters. In 2008, Hispanics made up 7.4% of all voters, up from 6.0% in 2004 (Lopez and Taylor, 2009).
Nonetheless, Hispanics are still a smaller part of the potential electorate than might be expected given their rapid population growth and share of the general population. For example, according to the Pew Hispanic analysis, more than 25 million blacks are eligible to vote in 2012 as are more than 152 million whites—both larger than the Hispanic electorate.
Part of the reason for this difference is that Hispanics are younger and less likely to hold citizenship than other groups. Overall, more than half (55%) of all Hispanics are not eligible to vote because they are under age 18 or are an adult that does not hold U.S. citizenship. By comparison, about one-in-five (21%) whites, less than one-third (31%) of blacks and 46% of Asians are ineligible to vote.
This report explores electoral participation trends among Hispanics in recent presidential election cycles. It also provides a snapshot of the geography and demography of the Hispanic vote in 2012, with a special focus on the so-called “battleground states.” Accompanying this report are state profiles of Latino eligible voters in 41 states and the District of Columbia, each based on data from the 2010 American Community Survey. Also accompanying this report is an interactive mapshowing key characteristics of Latino voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia."
To see the complete report click on the PDF file attached to this story.
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