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
11 months 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. Pam from Iowa

    I am white, middle class, and I voted for Obama, twice!
    and I would do it again if I had to do it over!!!
    If there was any voter fraud, I think you racists need to look back at 2004. NO WAY could GW Bush have won on his own. That election was rigged, and we all know that now!!!!
    Those hanging shads did not happen by mistake you know!!!

    May 9, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Jen B

    I didn't vote for Obama the 2nd time around because some of his fiscal rhetoric and policies did not fall in line with where I believed the country should be going, but hell would have been full of ice cream and unicorns before I ever voted for Romney.

    May 9, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Getoverit

    @sly
    " Unemployment plummiting. "
    ------–
    Huh? Where?

    May 9, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    -------------------------------------------------
    Actually yogi, there's at least a third possibility but we're trying to keep it nice aren't we? (wink!)

    May 9, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Stormy

    So what they're saying is.... if the races were equal, then blacks would have turned more out for voting than whites. Since whites WAY outnumber blacks, (223,553,265 to 38.929,319) i'd say 64% of whites is a LOT more than 68% of blacks (elementary school math.) It's as obvious as the nose on your face.....if white folks didn't want Obama in office or thought Romney would have done a better job..... that's how it would have turned out.

    May 9, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. tom

    article is misleading – the percentage of eligible voters who turned out was counted, not the actual number of white vs black

    May 9, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Jcrew

    For all those White folks who didn't vote yet complaining about Obama in the office – I have a question for you! Where were you on the voting day?

    May 9, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Triple A

    Easy to do when you are allowed to vote 2 or 3 times with out fear of retribution.

    May 9, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. jack 3

    Mike Texoma writes...White men over 50 cannot jerrymander enough, or curtail voting rights enough, or otherwise rig the political machine fast enough to reverse these demographic changes. Democracy works. If they want to help lead this nation into the future they have to face and embrace this new reality. I am surprised that so few of them show any inclination to do it.

    --------------------–
    Sounds kinda racist from you. We white men will always be here, many younger believe as we do so don't get too excited. Obama so far has been proven a failure. Not because of his color but his Ideas and lack of know how.

    May 9, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Eric

    In response to the post below:

    Your comments would be taken more seriously if you reviewed them for grammar and spelling.

    David

    Black unemployment is at a 28 yr high. Our muslim raised and muslim named president isnt doing anything for blacks. It's the race thing, but blacks want that welfare that democrats spoil them with. Even latino's voted Obama to keep that free money flowing. America won't last long at this rate

    May 9, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. David

    Wow!

    As I was growing up in the 90s, I was taught to be color blind. I do not see people as being white, black, or gray. While speaking to random people everyday, I automatically dismiss the color or ethnicity of their background. I see human beings trying to find their place in the world. Each person wants to be loved, married, have children, own a house, get a good paycheck, etc... Within my personal interpretation of life, we all are human beings above anything else.

    After reading through many of these posts, I am starting to feel a little uncomfortable. Even though I have accepted black people without bias, they have rejected me for being a white person.

    I didn't grow up in the 1960s, nor was I around in the 1800s.

    Regardless about how much you hate me for being white, I will always love everyone for belonging to the human species.

    God bless everyone.

    May 9, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. jack 3

    Martin...you made good sense in your post.

    May 9, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Amanda

    Created a ticking budget buster and possibly bankrupt our nation with his health care laws and scared most industry from investment with his EPA is what Obama has done. Like this survey is a surprise, that the blacks voted for a black man, wow what a shock. Whites weren't going to vote for Romney, they didn't like him, so it was loose looser situation.
    --------------------------
    If whites weren't going to vote for Romney, they why did "they" pick him? Oh yeah, he was better than the rest of the bunch.

    =========================================

    David

    Black unemployment is at a 28 yr high. Our muslim raised and muslim named president isnt doing anything for blacks. It's the race thing, but blacks want that welfare that democrats spoil them with. Even latino's voted Obama to keep that free money flowing. America won't last long at this rate
    ------------------------
    Obama came into office with black unemployment soaring up towards record numbers.
    The majority of Medicare and Medicaid dollars (70%) went to people who voted for Romney.
    The majority of Welfare dollars went to red states that voted for Romney.d

    America will quickly cease to exist if we pass the $5T deficit busting Ryan Plan, which is based entirely upon some fantasy society that he read about when he was teenager. Ryan admitted on CBS that he "hasn't run the numbers, yet" on his budget when asked what the national debt would be in the 30+ years it would take to balance the annual budget under his plan.

    May 9, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Marcus

    Wow!

    As I was growing up in the 90s, I was taught to be color blind. I do not see people as being white, black, or gray. While speaking to random people everyday, I automatically dismiss the color or ethnicity of their background. I see human beings trying to find their place in the world. Each person wants to be loved, married, have children, own a house, get a good paycheck, etc... Within my personal interpretation of life, we all are human beings above anything else.

    After reading through many of these posts, I am starting to feel a little uncomfortable. Even though I have accepted black people without bias, they have rejected me for being a white person.

    I didn't grow up in the 1960s, nor was I around in the 1800s.

    Regardless about how much you hate me for being white, I will always love everyone for belonging to the human species.

    God bless everyone.

    May 9, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Polar Bear

    Should be a wake up call. But it probably won't be.

    May 9, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Norm

    I believe other races in this country have always been more civic minded.
    White people take for granted the freedoms and liberties they've enjoyed for so long.

    May 9, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Nobody Asked Me

    Black or white blah blah blah – who is President seems to matter less and less as its Congress that has worked hard to continue partisan gridlock and not hold up their end as a change agent looking out for the overall interests of the country. The people in Congress just aren't good enough as leaders and are too fond of their perk laden status. The fact that so many are so wealthy insures that the people who should be in Congress won't be.

    May 9, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. nolongervoting

    There is really only ONE political party in the U.S. today: the Demopublican-republicrat Whigs. From now on, I plan to turn in an umarked ballot, to show displeasure with all candidates.

    May 9, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. Randy

    Mike Texoma, white men over 50 played a role in slavery, Jim Crow, Prohibition, and many other dark parts of our history. Those same white men wrote the Constitution, created our government, lead us in two world wars, passed the Civil Rights Act, took us to the moon, and created an economic powerhouse that still dominates the global economy. Changing demographics are do not change what makes a good leader, regardless of skin color.

    May 9, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Madala

    Does this mean that Blacks are no longer a minority race and now Whites are...affording them social benefits like reduced or free college tuition, etc?

    May 9, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Phattee

    Naturally, the GOP is doing everything in its power to try and stop blacks from voting.

    May 9, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. ianellis

    Don't like ANY of the candidates? The solution is easy. Write in your own name on your ballot. That way, you will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you agree with your choice 100 percent.

    May 9, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. Larry L

    @goblackhawks

    Yet under Obama Unemployment is up .. Buying of Houses is down ... way to go ... But I got me Free Obama phone .... Sad country we live in
    ========================
    We've recovered over 6.1 million of the 8 million jobs that were lost BEFORE President Obama took office – in the middle of a deep recession. The Republican Congress has done nothing but obstruct all progress and worry themselves with conspiracies, pledges to Grover Norquist, and the needs of the N.R.A. America is in a sad state due to Fox News drones who have never manned-up to the tragedy for the Bush years and the radical right-wing now in control of the Republican Party. But don't worry – they'll be thrown out in 2014 and 2016.

    May 9, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. BBB

    Didnt the headline say for the first time on record that blacks turned out to vote more than whites and then in the article it says for the first time since 1968. It's so funny how wacked the lame stream media is...haha

    May 9, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Kevin

    It's a real shame this article doesn't say 100% of ALL eligible voters voted in the election.

    May 9, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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