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. Brian

    Congrats to all the blacks who came out to vote solely on skin color. That will surely keep America strong and competitive in the future. How's that 24% unemployment working for you?

    May 9, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. James PDX

    More proof that the stereotype that whites are lazy is true. Wait, wasn't that Hispanics that are lazy and blacks are too busy doing drugs and committing crimes? I guess stereotypes can evolve.

    May 9, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. Guest13126

    Blacks have no idea what they're voting for except they be dems.

    May 9, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Mr. Mellow

    Ummm, black folks also voted over 90% for President Clinton and Al Gore and John Kerry. It is not a race thing, it is a party affiliation thing.

    May 9, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Reading the comments from the right, it looks as if Mr. Reince Priebus has his rebranding GOPerville effort well thought out ... up to date ... and running smoothly.

    May 9, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. momzna

    The title is misleading. It sounds like more blacks than whites have voted.

    May 9, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. oneforall allforone

    that was ONLY because, the President has black blood mixed with the white blood, lets see how many of these black folk vote when both president nominees are white. Yeah that will tell for sure who the racists are.

    May 9, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. John-117

    So you are telling me the majority of the US didn't want Obama and that he was only voted in because white people were too lazy to vote? Wow, this is what happens when you don't vote...you get Obama in charge.

    May 9, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. Foregone Conclusion

    But stop to think, @it must be stated, that getting out the white vote, with the tremendous number of whites supporting and marrying blacks in this country, it shouldn't make one heck of a difference! Minorities will continue to lead this country even More with white support in the years to come. It's a Foregone Conclusion.

    May 9, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    LMAO at the reichwing vitriol on display!

    May 9, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. BarryG

    If you live in the city, aka urban areas, it was pretty apparent who was voting. Of course it's much easier to find time to vote when you don't actually have to show up for a job.

    May 9, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. IvotedforObama

    I voted for him because he has gotten such a hard time from the racist. All those whining about blacks voting for him because he is black, why don't you whine about whites NOT voting for him just because he is black?

    May 9, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. just sayin

    isn't it funny how the party that always screams racism is the party that drives race based politics in this country? then again, that is how the leftists operate. they always say one thing and do the exact opposite. just look at obamas words then his deeds. exact opposite. claim equality for all while openly discriminating against whites. claiming some aren't paying their fair share while all their supporters pay practically nothing.

    wake up america. you are being conned royally.

    May 9, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Brian

    "This the first time since 1968 that blacks turned out at a higher rate the[sic] whites."
    "Blacks outvoted whites in 2012, the first time on record"

    Don't these two statements contradict each other.

    May 9, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Gregory L. Faith

    When 47% of the population is getting federal assistance, why do you think they came out to VOTE. FREE STUFF FOR MY VOTE. I"M WITH THAT!

    May 9, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. ghostwriter

    that was ONLY because, the President has black blood mixed with the white blood, lets see how many of these black folk vote when both president nominees are white.

    Ummmm....90% of blacks voted for Clinton.....Why do you conservatives forget everything that happened prior to 2009?

    May 9, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. The Truth Hurts

    I for one am SHOCKED by this revelation.

    May 9, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. dumbasfock

    Did blacks outvote whites or did a higher percentage of blacks vote than the percentage of whites? Misleading headline. 66% of blacks voting vs 64.1% of whites voting is not the same thing as blacks outvoting whites. By those numbers whites would have outvoted blacks by millions and millions. I'm sure it was an honest mistake and that CNN simply has no one available to write headlines who is capable of stating what he/she means. I just know they wouldnt stoop to such depths of misinformation on purpose.

    May 9, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Leonard Edelen

    Unfortunatley everything in this country is based on the color of your skin......so why should an election be any different?

    May 9, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. bjd1020

    annnnnddddd the result of the election didnt clue you in CNN.....duhhh.

    May 9, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. For the Record

    Hey, James PDX, you evidently haven't seen the hardest working group in America, Hispanics and Latinos! I'd like to see you working out in the fields along with them! You wouldn't last one day and would become a pool of sweat and probably have a coronary within the hour! So, don't say they don't work hard by comparison. That stereotype only helps to exemplify your bigotry!

    May 9, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. Susan

    Someone else made a great point...that clearly proves that voter repression is a myth.

    May 9, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. John The Electrician

    The day of the angry old white guy is over. Now this country will finally move forward and join the rest of the world.

    May 9, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. Wake up People!

    Anyone claiming that anyone voted multiple times is a bare faced liar. I tested that theory in the last election. For years I was a registered voter at my old address. The same people worked the polls. One of the workers was actually my nephew's grandmother, she and many others knew exactly who I was. I then asked if I could vote there (I was taking a friend to vote at that location). They looked through the register and I was no longer registered at that address, so I was not allowed to vote there.

    And all of you talking about Obama phones, go check your nearest trailer park. That's where they are.

    I'm going to give you people that know nothing about black people a little insight into us. Many of us are very materialistic, we want the latest high tech toys just like many of you. I don't know ONE black person with an Obama phone. Metro PCS is making a killing though.

    As for those of you that claim we're lazy and want handouts, does that go for our ancestors who built this country with their lives, blood, sweat and tears for NO PAY AT ALL???? And to be treated inhumane??

    All of you can KMBA!!

    May 9, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. MATT

    Blacks didnt "turn out" to vote. the vote was (in theory) brought around for them to sign off on before election day. The realty is some districts show 100% voter turnout in black areas like in philadelphia. Those people didnt go vote – the vote was stolen in their name however.

    May 9, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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