A record 11.2 million Latinos voted in the 2012 presidential election, but Latinos' voter turnout rate continues to lag other groups significantly, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center.
Overall, 48% of Hispanic eligible voters turned out to vote in 2012, down from 49.9% in 2008. By comparison, the 2012 voter turnout rate among black non-Hispanics was 66.6% and among white non-Hispanics was 64.1%, both significantly higher than the turnout rate among Hispanics.
Rapid growth of the nation's Latino population has fueled quick growth in the number of Latinos eligible to vote (U.S. citizen adults). Between 2008 and 2012, the number of Latino eligible voters grew from 19.5 million to 23.3 million---- an increase of 19%. By contrast, the number of Latino voters increased by 15% over 2008. With the number of Latino voters growing more slowly than the number of Latino eligible voters, the Latino voter turnout rate declined between 2008 and 2012, despite a record turnout.
The Pew Research analysis also finds that the Hispanic voter turnout rate declined for nearly all major Hispanic demographic subgroups with the exception of three in 2012. The voter turnout rate of naturalized Hispanic immigrants who arrived in the 1990s increased from 41.2% in 2008 to 47.2% in 2012. Among Hispanics ages 65 and older, the voter turnout rate increased from 56% in 2008 to 59.9% in 2012. And among Hispanic origin groups, the voter turnout rate of Puerto Ricans increased from 49.7% in 2008 to 52.8% in 2012.
Voter turnout rates differed widely among Latino demographic subgroups in 2012. The highest voter turnout rates were among those with a college degree (70.8%) and among Cuban-origin Latinos (67.2%). Meanwhile, the lowest were among those ages 18 to 29 (36.9%) and those with less than a high school diploma (35.5%).
This report explores electoral participation among Latinos in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections. It also provides a demographic portrait of Latino voters and Latino nonvoters.
The report, "Inside the 2012 Latino Electorate," authored by Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director, and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, research associate, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website, www.pewhispanic.org.