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. cyp

    ... Even if it's 66% vs 64% the Number of Blacks vs Whites in this country is extrememly skewed.. ex: 66% of 100 = 66
    64% of 1000 = 640..

    May 9, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. mloux87

    Because we know our voice no longer counts. Why vote when the two choices are a guy who can meet with Jay Z and Beyonce but not foreign leaders(ie the PM of Israel, whom Obama couldn't make time for in his first term yet could go on BET plenty of times) and the sad excuse for a politician Romney? Waste of time really. Maybe it's because the blacks appreciated the BET interviews and Jay Z meets more than the whites did..go figure.

    May 9, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. CNNisOK

    CNN I know you wouldn't interpret the numbers incorrectly on purpose. More blacks voted because their was a black candidate. See 95%.

    May 9, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Peoples Statue of Illinois

    @Dan

    @Peoples Statue of Illinois – Name the counties where more than 100% of the population voted. You are lying to make a point. THe only point you really make is that you tall lies to support your opinions.

    If you're not lying, then name the counties where more than 100% of the voters are listed as voting
    -----------------
    Tsk tsk tsk, the lack of education on the left, do you guys not have the intellect to use google? Every county comes up when you do.

    May 9, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. bean

    still racism in the country.."93% of African-Americans" vote for the African American. Coincidence? I think not!

    May 9, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    Slavery was a long time ago George. Between Strom Thurmond and Nixon, they completely ruined that argument for you.

    One good thing came from this race baiting article. Those who continue to believe racism is dead, need to look no further. Also read anything on the death of TM. Since when has the klan supported a Mexican??

    May 9, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Chip Bartsch

    The 2nd paragraph says that "for the first time on record, black voters turned out to the presidential polls at a higher rate than whites." The 3rd paragraph says "This the first time since 1968 that blacks turned out at a higher rate the whites." Conflicting statements and incomplete sentences make this a horrible article about an important subject. Doesn't anyone proof read anymore?!?!?!?!

    May 9, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    OK, which is it:
    "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"
    OR
    "This marks the first time since 1968 that blacks turned out at a higher rate the whites."
    Cannot be both.

    May 9, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Ribidit

    "The highest turnout of blacks, in addition to the growing number of Hispanics and Asians, could also explain Obama's success in defeating Romney." – AH, NO...Romney and that pathetic twit Ryan sealed their own fate...they are both moronic imbeciles and the majority of Americans realized that. That being said, a hearty "THANK-YOU" to everyone who turned out to vote for President Obama – the alternative was unthinkable!

    May 9, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. americanjello

    as soon as i saw this article i knew the first comment would be about 'voted fraud' and I was right.

    May 9, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    So much for headlines ... 98M whites voted compared to18M blacks. Whites voted at a rate higher than their percentage of the eligible voter population.

    May 9, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. mloux87

    Because we know our voice no longer counts, and look where it's gotten us. We can't even afford to fund the military anymore because of Obama's "change". Why would whites vote when the only two choices were a guy who couldn't make time in his first term for the PM of Israel, our best M.E. friend, but could make ample time to meet with Jay Z and Beyonce. Not to mention he made time to go on BET with the First Lady and numerous vacations at a time when most Americans can't afford to take a sick day. And then that sorry excuse for a politician Romney, what choice did whites have? It's a waste of time for us. A guy who would rather be in the social black scene to appear more in touch with blacks than actually do what he said he would and a money hungry pompous for an opponent. Maybe the blacks appreciated the Mr&Mrs Jay Z visits and BET interviews more than the whits did..go figure.

    May 9, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Emintey

    It pleases me that the race which rose up from slavery, when one of their own race runs for president, that they turn out in large numbers, it's also understandable. It also represents an important milestone in American culture that a black man has been elected. Yes there are some black republicans but overwhelmingly blacks obviously perceive the democratic party as being the party that best represents their interests.. It was republicans who chose the 'southern strategy" which doesnt seem to be working anymore and now, saying in veiled terms (the 'democratic plantation') that blacks are too dumb to vote republican wont gain them any more votes.

    May 9, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Mike in SA

    So...had 95% of all Whites for for Romney (like 95% of Blacks voted for Obama), would we now be hearing about the turnout, or would we be hearing about the racist White's voting for their kind? Never mind, CNN, I think we all know what hte headline would be.

    May 9, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. gary

    More whites voted than blacks. A higher percentage of eligible blacks voted than eligible whites. The report they link to states that 98,041,000 whites and 17,813,000 blacks voted in 2012. The headline is misleading and inaccurate. I'm also sure that it's a heck of a lot easier to get 18 million people to vote than it is to get 98 million people, but that doesn't seem to be factored in for this article. By the way, I'm all for more blacks voting, more whites, more of everybody. We need better voter turnout and more involvement from everyone.

    May 9, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Paulie

    Is CNN hinting that Obama was elected only based on skin color?

    May 9, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Sarah S.

    Fascinating, since blacks represent 12% of the population.....what does that say? How many votes did each one get????

    Race / Ethnicity

    Number

    Percentage of
    U.S. population

    Americans

    308,745,538

    100.0 %

    White or European American

    223,553,265

    72.4 %

    Black or African American

    38,929,319

    12.6 %

    May 9, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. snoozie

    "really?"wrote: Clearly racism is alive. Black vote 99% for Obama and came out for droves. I wonder if others voted solely upon skin color what would happen....

    There were plenty of white people who DID NOT vote for Obama based solely on his skin color, so you tell me.

    May 9, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Mr. Moderate

    Clinton got 83% and 84% of the Black vote in his two elections, Gore got 95% of the Black vote and Kerry got 94%. You can stop all the whining about African Americans voting for Obama because of reverse racism.

    May 9, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. US.NEEDS.HELP

    Look now! .Our GOVERNMENT isnt the best out there, Our government is a joke and will kill this Nation off, It can only be changed if YOU the People make it change. CONGRESS NEEDS TO GO !!! They are greedy old men that need to die and make why for fresh blood to make this Nation batter again ! Then again you all are sheep and believe this bull of a lie. CNN is ran by our Government, so is FOX News. No News is good news.

    May 9, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. IvotedforObama

    Black people saw how racist and nasty the GOP has been toward him and they decided to slap the "Party of no" in the face.

    May 9, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Mike in SA

    So...had 95% of all Whites for for Romney (like 95% of Blacks voted for Obama), would we now be hearing about the turnout, or would we be hearing about the racist White's voting for their kind? Never mind, CNN, I think we all know what hte headline would be.
    Thank you Mike! Well played

    May 9, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. 2012liberal

    And missing from this report is gender gap also. Women out voted men and if gop keeps trying 2 keep the heel of their boots on the throats of women that gap will also widen more just like the rest.

    May 9, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    why are comment boards always full of Americas most negative people. we should be happy that African Americans are voting. you people need to get laid or something.

    May 9, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Sally Hourigan

    This article is very offensive and racially slanted. I agree with Mike S., That this would be a different article had 95% of the white people voted for Romney instead of 95% of the black people voted for Obama.

    May 9, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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