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. Anonymous

    Romney won the white vote...Are most americans biased?

    May 9, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. jam108

    Evolution has a way of eliminating deadweight from the gene pool. Assuming politics evolves the same way, this is the beginning of the end of white Republican men ruling America. Democracy at work. I love it.

    May 9, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. PraiseTheLard

    I guess the next time the Republican State legislatures will have to make sure that the lineups in the Black areas are even longer...

    May 9, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Robert

    I wonder if the people who are so inflamed that this president got 93% of the black vote know that Al Gore got 96% of the black vote?

    May 9, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Jeb2016- We owe the Bushes another shot at bringing the country down!

    Percentage of black voters who have voted democratic since 1972:

    1972 82%
    1976 83%
    1980 85%
    1984 90%
    1988 86%
    1992 83%
    1996 84%
    2000 90%
    2004 88%
    2008 95%

    The vast majority of black voters vote for the Democratic candidate, whatever race.

    May 9, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Paul

    Waaah. waaaah, Obama isn't cleaning up after Bush's mess fast enough. He's clueless.

    May 9, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. nadsgf

    You'd have to be an idiot to vote for either party's candidate.

    May 9, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Doc Ray

    The percentage of non-voters among Hispanics is higher than it is for Whites and Blacks. With the demographic changes iin the offing with more Hispanics and people of color in general, the days of the GOP and its policies are numbered.

    The majority of non-Whites do NOT want separation of mother from child in deportations, military grade weapons with high capacity magazines, and a criminal justice system that imprisons a higher percentage of our people than any other nation in the world with uneven laws, unfair sentencing and prisons for profit.

    (James: 5:5-6: 5 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.)

    May 9, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Joey

    Probably because hispanics are considered "white" by our genius government. Stupid article!

    May 9, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. James A.

    In the 2010 midterms 10% of white males and 1% of everyone else voted, I'm assuming. This explains the success of the Tea Party.

    May 9, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Guest

    The very expectation that conservativism has to reach out to you because your color is clear indicator of the racist entitlement society the democrats are growing...oh look, here comes 20 million more! I challenge you not to check the minority block if you truly stand for equality...as I suspected, no takers.

    May 9, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Data Analyst

    As others have noted, blacks did not "outvote" whites. The author fails to mention that blacks represent 13% of the US population, while whites represent 78% of the population. Blacks _did_ vote in greater proportion than whites. Here's some math:

    76% of the US population is 18 or over (per the Census web site) and eligible to vote. (I don't have a handy statistic for how many adults are registered voters, but we can use these #s to illustrate the point.)

    76% x 314 million = approx 240 million adults. Of those, 78% are white (approx 186 million white adults), and of those, 64.1% voted. This is approximately 119 million white adults who could have voted.

    Of the 240 mil adults, 13% are black (approx 31 million white adults), and of those, 66% voted. That makes approx 20 million black adults who could have voted.

    119 million whites vs 20 million blacks. HUGE difference. Blacks did not "outvote" whites.

    Shame on CNN for misleading readers with this headline.

    May 9, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Chris D.

    This statement is exactly what I was thinking. % turnout is irrelevant. Votes are not counted in this way, so report the real story and not what makes a headline pop. Obama won due to a large minority vote...agreed. But did the minority outvote the majority (from a race perspective)...I can't see that being true.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    guest

    This headline is not misleading because it is an intentional, outright lie. Blacks displayed a higher turnout percetnage. They did not "outvote" whites, as the number of white people who voted is more than the number of black people who did. CNN should be sued for knowingly reporting a lie.

    May 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |

    May 9, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. GenYer

    The day that race does not matter will be a fine day, indeed. I am just happy that people voted.

    May 9, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. SR

    are122

    Blacks unemployment rate = 13.2 percent. You reap what you sow.

    May 9, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |

    And it will be higher after the immagration bill gets passed LMAO!!

    May 9, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    Peoples Statue of Illinois

    @Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They pissed us the hell off with the way they treated THIS President and by extension our country.
    Hell yes we turned out to vote.
    --––

    Count me in on being pissed off too!
    --–
    And some of us are pissed the hell off at the way this president has treated this country.
    -------------

    Still trying to get me to bite on your empty innuendo?

    May 9, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Kevin

    Don't we need to do more to close the gap to ensure that more whites vote next election? Oh wait, never mind. We only want to close the gap when it's the other way around.

    May 9, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. whaco

    @ Kraigaford
    you're a fool. Yes, and like there are absolutely NOOOOO Democrats that are rich.....you're part of the problem with this country......one-track, misgiuded, sheepened, thought processed mind that will ONLY vote your party. Stark/extremists Republicans are exactly the same......BTW, Obama has done NOTHING other than continue Bush's quest for Osama which he succedded. Besides that, he has done nothing but seperate this country from it's own people.....yea, what a great job he's doing.......

    May 9, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Klaus

    I thought we were over the race thing, but no CNN is bringing it up over and over again......
    when does it stop?

    May 9, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. Norm

    I guess we can see who the real patriotic Americans are in this country.

    May 9, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Vic

    Wow! Now the GOP will have to really do some district changing and voter suppression. I love it!!! !

    May 9, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. yogi

    @Peoples Statue of Illinois
    "And some of us are pissed the hell off at the way this president has treated this country."
    -------------------------------------
    There are only two possibilities: You are either part of the 1%, or you are living in another country.

    May 9, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Andrew

    A lot of people did vote for Obama because he was black. I personally heard a lot of people saying 'man, I'm voting to put a brother in office' but they couldn't tell you anything about the issues. This has nothing to do with bigotry against blacks, if anything it has to do with reverse racism and the idea that 'oh, we'll vote for this guy because he's black as opposed to voting for the white guy'. When I asked people if they actually knew where Obama stood on the issues, most of them couldn't even name three major issues in the election.

    I am an independent and I have voted both Democrat and Republican and, at state level, Libertarian. That's because I take the time to look at the issues and see what candidate takes the stance that is most in line with the Constitution and what I personally believe will be best for the country. That's how voting should be done, not looking at skin color or ethnicity either way.

    May 9, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. yogi

    @Peoples Statue of Illinois
    "And some of us are pissed the hell off at the way this president has treated this country."
    --------------------------------------
    There are only two possibilities: You are either part of the 1%, or you are living in another country.

    May 9, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    Peoples Statue of Illinois

    @Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They pissed us the hell off with the way they treated THIS President and by extension our country.
    Hell yes we turned out to vote.
    --––

    Count me in on being pissed off too!
    --–
    And some of us are pissed the hell off at the way this president has treated this country.
    ----------

    Just to be clear: I have nothing but respect for President Obama. You are barking up the wrong tree with me ... again.

    May 9, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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