Older Latinos, Newer Immigrants Helped Boost 2012 Turnout

Older Latinos, Newer Immigrants Helped Boost 2012 Turnout

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This week the Pew Hispanic Center released a new report detailing Latino voter turnout in the 2012 general election. While a record number of Latinos turned out to vote in November’s election, a little over half of the Latinos who could vote did not show up to the polls. 48% of eligible Hispanics voted in 2012, which is slightly down from 49.9% in 2012.

Only three Hispanic subgroups had higher voting turnout in 2012. Naturalized immigrants who arrived in the 1990s increased their turnout from 41.2% in 2008 to 47.2% in 2012. Those in the 65 year old and over subset increased their turnout from 56% to 59.9% in 2012, and Puerto Ricans increased their turnout from 49.7% in 2008 to 52.8% in 2012.

Education levels also influence turnout as it does for other groups in the traditional high socioeconomic, high turnout model. 70.8% of Hispanics with a college degree voted in 2012, while only 35.5% of those with less than a high school diploma turned out to vote.

Young voters are helping to increase the number of Latino eligible voters, as 3.8 million Latinos became eligible to vote between 2008 and 2012. Younger Latino voters in the 18-29 group posted a lower voter turnout in 2012 than they did in 2008 (36.9% from 40.8% in 2008).

In terms of Latino family origin, Cuban Americans, as a group, had the highest voter turnout at 67.2% in 2012. Central/South American origin Latinos followed with 57.1% turnout in 2012. Following the Cuban Americans and Central/South Americans were the other Spanish origin group (53.7%), Puerto Rican origin (52.8%), and Mexican origin group (42.2%).

This data shows that there is plenty of room to increase Latino voter turnout, especially in the 12.1 million people who are eligible to vote but aren’t showing up to the polls. 52% of Latinos who are eligible to cast ballots are not voting, whereas 66.6% of blacks and 64.1% of whites voted in 2012.

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