Blacks outvoted whites in 2012, the first time on record
Residents of the historically African-American neighborhood of Harlem wait in line to vote on Election Day. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
May 9th, 2013
08:00 AM ET
2 years ago

Blacks outvoted whites in 2012, the first time on record

Washington (CNN) – A new Census Bureau report shows a higher percentage of African-Americans than whites voted in a presidential election for the first time in history last year during the matchup between President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

The report, released Wednesday, found that more than 66% of eligible blacks voted in the presidential contest. Only 64.1% of whites turned out to vote.

This marks the first time since 1968 that blacks turned out at a higher rate the whites.

In addition to blacks turning out at a higher rate, the number of Asian and Hispanic voters grew from 2008 to 2012. Hispanics added 1.4 million people and Asians added over 500,000. Between 1996 and 2012, blacks, Asians and Hispanics all saw their percentage of the voting population increase.

"Over the last five presidential elections, the share of voters who were racial or ethnic minorities rose from just over one in six in 1996 to more than one in four in 2012," said Thom File, the report's author.

The highest turnout of blacks, in addition to the growing number of Hispanics and Asians, could also explain Obama's success in defeating Romney.

According to CNN exit polls, 93% of African-Americans, 71% of Hispanics and 73% of Asians supported Obama over Romney.

OPINION: Belcher: Historic milestone for African-American voters

Some other findings from the Census Bureau analysis:

• While the Latino vote might turned the election toward Obama and caused much post-election soul-searching among Republicans, the Census Bureau data showed that Latino's turnout rate was far below that of blacks and whites – only 48% of the Latino population turned out, which was nearly two percentage points below the 2008 rate. While the Latino population in the country increased by about 1.4 million to 11.2 million from 2008 to last year, the number of Hispanics who were eligible to vote but didn't grew by 2.3 million to 12.1 million.

But because the Latino share of the under-18 population, they should become an important bloc in the future. While Hispanics make up 17% of the nation's overall population, 24% of the country's under-18 population is Latino.

• Youth voter turnout also declined between the two elections: The turnout rate of those 18 to 24 fell to 41.2% last year, down from 48.5% in 2008. At the same time, the turnout rate of those 65 and older increased from 70.3% in 2008 to 71.9% last year.

But like Latinos, so-called Millennial generation – adults born after 1980 who are now between 18 and 33 – continues to grow. While Millennials are currently 25.5% of the electorate, they are expected to make up 36.5% by 2020.

• Besides the record rate that African-Americans voted at, non-whites made up 26.3% of all voters, another all-time high. The share of the non-white population is also expected to rise from 33.9% to 37.8% in 2020 and 54.8% by 2060, according to Census Bureau projections. Republicans should be concerned – Mitt Romney captured only 17% of the growing non-white population.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (620 Responses)
  1. Luke

    Just want to let you all know you look like morons pulling the race card over an analysis of statistical data. Think about it.

    May 9, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. A Sad State

    If you do see all the hate and generaliztion as to why this type of discussion needs to happen you are the problem.
    There is a under lying hate and acceptable level of them and us in America – being a them to the minority race in a nation where race matters I see the statistics in this article as step in the right direction. Standing up instead of waiting for the hand.

    May 9, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Ridge

    @Mike, it matters when race IS the only reason you're voting.

    May 9, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. TheBigT

    Too many people with the day off and had time to go vote. WELFARE.

    May 9, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Howard Givens

    I tried to vote but there were panthers at the door. The panthers were not the cute pink ones either

    May 9, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. t-bone

    Its easy for blacks to outvote the whites, some of them voted two or more times.
    Obamas whole Presidency has been a farce and one need look no further than the economy to see how worthless this guy is.
    Blacks voted for the Welfare King and now they are upset that hes not forking over even more stuff to them.

    May 9, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. knklhead

    I am white .. but I wonder why you never see photos of white people in voting lines .. oh, yeah, I remember now, the Republicans targeted the black areas with restrictive voting laws that ... BACKFIRED!

    May 9, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Howard Givens

    a panther hit me in the knee when I tried to vote. So I had to go home

    May 9, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. christian

    93% of blacks voted for Obama. Obviously because of the color of his skin. Then add the 71% of Latinos to the vote because Democrats pander to border runners. The presidency has be whitewashed into a pander fest instead of what's good for the country.

    May 9, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. KeninTexas

    Wasn't this story headline news a few weeks ago? Why is CNN treating it like it's some big story that just broke? Oh yeah, we know why. CNN stands for the c---ed news network. I had always heard that but there may be some truth to it.

    May 9, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Kellog

    Well, if we're going to use the race card, then that must go to show that more white people know we live in a republic and not a democracy like people still tend to believe. Your presidential vote is 100% irrational and 100% irrelevant.

    May 9, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. Jim

    It's wonderful that more blacks are voting. That's great and it's certainly not a problem. What is a problem is that the vast, vast majority of them voted according to race. That's disgusting. It's not right when morons like the KKK do it, and it's not right when blacks do it, simply because Obama is part black.

    May 9, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. hz

    democrats drove every single blacks they can find to vote for obama, many of them even voted many times. of course blacks voted more than anybody else
    "vote early, vote often" were democrats' moto in 2012.

    May 9, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Jojola

    Let's recap why don't we? First, minorities were referred to by the other party as lazy and wanting free stuff. Second, the other party tried their best to disenfranchise the minority vote. Third, we watched republican governors pass crazy laws against women, stripped union workers of their rights and demeaned predominately black cities as bankrupt by appointing a "manager" to take over that city. So, you see, it's not the fact that blacks came out to vote for a black president but they felt they were fighting for their rights all over again.

    May 9, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. SF

    Gee, I wonder why they were standing in line! it's ridiculous! most of them only voted because Obama is black! and they call people racists and hateful towards blacks? i wonder why....

    May 9, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. hz

    we need a national id for voting alone with electronic identification system to prevent voting with false id or same id vote multiple times.
    if we can achieve the goal above, i can guarantee you democrats will become permanent minority in almost every state

    May 9, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. GottaLuvJavaScript

    Imagine MLK at 84 years of age still having the same unfulfilled dream.

    May 9, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Dorkus Maximus

    I wouldn't call this blacks outvoting whites. That suggests that more blacks voted than whites. A greater percentage voted, sure; but it's a greater percentage of a smaller number.

    May 9, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. Scott

    I dont vote cuase it doesn't matter. Especially in IL.

    May 9, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. Natalie

    Why should it matter? This article shows that the ethnic groups in today's society are still segregated. It should not matter that "black people voted more than white people." What matters is the person who was voted in and the number of people (all together) who voted. Never thought that your race would play a role in deciding who wins.

    May 9, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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