On Wednesday, the Census Bureau released The Diversifying Electorate–Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2012 (and Other Recent Elections). The report draws on data from the November 2012 Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement.
Among other things, it confirms that for the first time ever, black voters turned out at a higher rate than white voters: 66.2% of eligible black voters participated, compared to 64.1% of non-Hispanic white voters. Increased participation among black voters has been a trend since 1996, with participation rates increasing 13 percentage points since then. The data also shows that:
- Voting rates increase with age. In 2012, the percentage of eligible adults who voted ranged from 41.2% for 18- to 24-year-olds, to a high of 71.9% for those 65 and older.
- Black and non-Hispanic white voters continue to lead in turnout. In 2012, both Hispanic and Asian voters voted at a rate of about 48%, trailing black and non-Hispanic white turnout.
- Mobility matters. 11.7% of voters who lived at their current residence for less than one year cited “registration problems” as a reason for not voting–compared to 5.5% of all voters.
- The “gender gap” in voting persists. In every presidential election since 1996, women have voted at higher rates than men. In 2012, the spread was about 4 percentage points, and widest among black voters at 9 percentage points.