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
1 year 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. steve

    this is why we need to add more voting restrictions!

    May 9, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. scott

    If this story is true then we need to end the 1964 civil rights act and Holder and Obama need to stop preaching that blacks and minorities are put at a disadvantage when it comes to voting rights.

    May 9, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. it must be asked

    Data Driven
    Wow, it's becoming Aryan Nation in here. I'd recommend closing the comments.
    ----

    Why??? Are you afraid of white people organizing to vote for their white candidate like Obama and the Democrats have organized all of the minorities to vote for them? If it is good for the Democrat Party why can't white people organize to protect their ever decreasing rights in this country?

    May 9, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. Donna

    Sniffit
    1. Obama has placed more troops and tech on the border than at any time in the country's history;
    2. Obama has set records each year for the number of deportations; and
    3. Net illegal immigration is ZERO
    --

    Don't forget these.

    1. Supports Democrats sanctuary cities.
    2. Granted amnesty to young illegals, circumventing our elected officials
    3. Free federal government services provided to illegals.
    4. Attacks and sues states or others enforcing our laws.
    5. Releases detained illegals endangering the American public.

    BTW, enough with the lies. There is not net illegal immigration of zero. You have no way of proving this. And if it is true, it is because Obama has kept the country near economic collapse for 4 going on 5 years. If the economy ever does improve, their will be millions more flooding into this country because Obama refuses to defend our borders. And now with the talk of amnesty in the air, I'm sure millions more are packing their bags to get on that gravy train.

    May 9, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. chaki36

    Brian, the black unemployment rate has always been a problem. It doesn't matter the President. Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush! So there is not revenge a reaping for us. Do you for a second think the black unemployment rate was going to get better under Mitt Romney? PLEASE!

    May 9, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Great Odin's Raven

    To Cedar Rapids:

    I think the point, as far as this article goes, is that we saw a much bigger voter turnout from the black community than in previous elections in which the democrat was not black. I'm not saying it is (or isn't) due to his race though.

    To Todd (and several others):

    They are talking about blacks outvoting whites relatively, with respect to their demographic. If we were to post a story "more white people voted than black people" eveyone in this forum would be commenting "well duh, there are more of them, this isn't new." Comparing them to their respective populations is a much more meaningful statistic (especially since it hasn't happened since '68)..

    May 9, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. DB

    Oh, the irony.

    Blacks don't automatically vote for blacks...although they do tend to automatically vote for Democrats. You think that maybe the way Republicans talk about them automatically voting for blacks might have something to do with it?

    The more you attack them for not voting for your party, the more they will continue to avoid voting for your party!

    May 9, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. datablade

    If the Democrats are so helpful to minorities in general, then how do these same minorities do not notice their lot in life has not improved a bit under the Democrats?? I hate to generalize on racial matters but it does appear the African Americans seems to still be losing ground socially and economically. The Hispanic race seems to be well ahead of them and they have only been in the U.S. for a few decades. This is just based on my observations. I am from Illinois and Chicago is its usual mess, plus Illinois is broke after 25+ years of Democrats controlling the state. (I look forward to your comments).

    May 9, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. jobiwan

    The United States is doomed because idiots keep voting based on color and social issues. How many Fags voted for Obama just because of gay marriage? How many activists voted for Obama just because of his stance on Baby killing? Lets not forget about his GMO monsanto scandel. %60 of Obamas stocks are in GMO producer Monsanto. Where is the hippy Organic food lovers outrage?

    May 9, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Peter

    So, if many whites didn't vote, how can they complain that Blacks and Hispanics threw the election!

    Ridiculous

    May 9, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Lee

    Another factor is that GOP (Party of NO) and FoxNews unified the Black vote. It didn't matter about the issues, but so show opposition to the demonizing of a Black Man who is the President of the United States. Black folks see and feel the racist undertone in the language and tactics used.

    What so funny is that behind close doors, all of congress LOVE President Obama. They golf and hang out with him every chance they get. They even get his autograph!!!

    May 9, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Nick D'Aloise

    4 of the 10 WHITEST states in the country went for Obama... Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Iowa... Just sayin'

    May 9, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. Darth Cheney

    Cool! White men have screwed up this country long enough.

    May 9, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. B

    by this logic. if republicans nominate a black, and dems a white. the republicans would win?

    May 9, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. rick in Texas

    I voted for Obama not because he is black (I'm white)but because of Mitt's 47% comment. I'm sick and tired of people like him who have manipulated the system think they can do what ever they want.All Americans(regardles of race,religion or culture) needs to wake up and fight this this plutocracy Romney and friends have created the last 20 years

    May 9, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Palmer

    So....In elections prior to Obama, 100% of all White people and Black people voted for the White guy. Again, what's your problem?

    May 9, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. riccivm

    For a country founded on diversity – "the melting pot" – it's amazing to see how racism dies so hard... Who am I kidding?! That's true everywhere!! What's even more amazing is that this article is based on nothing!! Let me try if for you. If 2% purple become 3% then one can say that the purple population increased by 50%... Sure: that IS a big number... and I can pretend that "it is a big deal" by comparing it to the 1% reduction of the non-purple population... Wooooo... so scary! As if it was real science. Great article!! No, really. Go CNN! –

    May 9, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. david

    Blacks game out in records number for President Obama. I believe it was the Republican parties attempt to suppress the black vote. That ticked me off and I would've stood in line for 12 hours to vote if I had too! I'm glad President Obama was reelected but I'm disappointed in him too. Nothing much as been done to help the middle class. And I'm really disturbed about the drone attacks and the assassination of an American Citizen and then we killed the person 16 y/o son. In fact, I'm appauld at our actions!

    May 9, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Jesse

    I hope you all are enjoying the "hand out" rather than putting a "hand in..." Soon you will have dried up all your resources.

    May 9, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. Elena Ferrero

    WOW! That is amazing news. Now the WHITEST country in America is a Latino country, ARGENTINA!! No blacks and very few Native American Indians down there and for that you had to go to Mexico, Peru, Ecuador.

    May 9, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. Doug

    the title of the article is misleading, that's per capita, not in total.

    May 9, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. riccivm

    For a country founded on diversity – "the melting pot" – it's amazing to see how racism dies so hard... Who am I kidding?! That's true everywhere!! What's even more amazing is that this article is based on nothing!! Let me try if for you. If 2% purple become 3% then one can say that the purple population increased by 50%... Sure: that IS a big number... and I can pretend that "it is a big deal" by comparing it to the 1% reduction of the non-purple population... Wooooo... so scary! As if it was real science. Great article!! No, really. Go CNN!

    May 9, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. jobiwan

    Both democrats and republicans suck. Anyone who supports either party is dilusional. They are all crooks, liars and Obama is proof. Brainwashed sheep is what Americans are rapidly turning into. I feel sorry for all the voters who buy into the B.S.

    May 9, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Guest

    Yeah, some even voted as many times as they could get away with, or not. MLK would be embarrassed at what the black community has done with "equality" and not done more importantly.

    May 9, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. mork

    typical american logic. How about saying 'some people out voted some other people' but nope its always got to be about color in the good ole USA

    May 9, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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