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
10 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.

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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. HenryMiller

    Black voters voted for a black candidate. This is surprising?

    The sad thing is that a lot of those black voters voted for the black candidate because he's black and, likely, to ensure their continued supply of Obamaphones and the rest of the goodies Democrats like to buy votes with.

    May 9, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    All the more reason why gerrymandering and voter supression tactics are being used by the right. I just wish we could get a higher turnout rate for midterm elections. We'll see what happens in 2014.

    May 9, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    "ONE blood...we are also His offspring"(Acts 17: 26-28) "Ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus(Galatians 3: 28,
    Ephesians 4: 4-6) ONE inheritance for ALL "reserved in heaven" (1st Peter 1: 4)

    May 9, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. Zerubbabel

    I would like to thank the repubs for attempting to restrict the constitutional right of voting. My people were galvinized by these outright exclusionary tactics to infringe on their right to cast a vote and we came out in force. These shameful tactics spit in the face of all those who gave their lives and peaceably protested in the 60's. Their bravery and sacrifice will never be forgotten and we will continue to vote in force to let the repubs know that they cannot take what they cannot win legally by manipulating the law. We shall overcome!!!

    May 9, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  5. Namelornajohns

    Let's see 66% of the Minority against 64.5% of the Majority, hummm sounds like and smells foul, if you caych my drift. Either the Census Bureau Fudged numbets or there is something VERY WRONG WITH THE POLLS!!!

    May 9, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  6. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Good to see blacks ,asians and latino people voting. Why i understand the black and latino turnout, the asian support for Obama, should be a wake up call to all republicans. In our quest to make poor white uneducated people in our party (Mostly in the south) Feel good by telling them that there are better the poor on the left(Meaning blacks) We have hurt our brand.its time to tell poor whites the truth that their future is not looking to bright unless they go back to school or learn a trade.then go get their teeth together. Republicans need to drop all the poor unproductive blood suckers for our party. Open up to all the folks who are moving this country ahead.white black latino and asian.

    May 9, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  7. David

    In before the "black people are racist for voting obama" replies.

    May 9, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    The numbers say a lot about community organizing.

    May 9, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  9. Wake up People!

    Oh great Fox-Lite something to divide us even further. I can't wait to read the RWNJ responses to THIS.

    I can hear them now. Of course they voted, they knew their Messiah Obama was going to continue giving them free stuff. We all know they are lazy and just waiting for handouts.

    Too funny. Lazy. Were our ancestors lazy when they built this country and made the inhabitants rich by not paying for labor???
    I'm beginning to truly hate this site.

    May 9, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  10. Name

    And that's how Obama wpon

    May 9, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. Scott

    Black voters did not outvote white voters; a higher percentage of black voters voted as compared to the percentage of white voters.

    If you have two black voters and one voted then 50% of them voted.

    If you have twenty white voters and five of them vote then 25% of them voted.

    A greater percentage of black voters were engaged in voting in that example but a greater number of white voters still voted.

    The headline is misleading.

    That said, any increase in voting can only be a good thing. I am also hoping that, culturally, we are getting to the point where black voters (or any other minority) feels that their votes count and get to the polls.

    May 9, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  12. Babyboomer

    While this article is very encouraging, particularly for AA's, Hispanics and Asians, I think the real truth is that a lot of white Independent and Republican voters simply couldn't bring themselves to vote for Mitt Romney so they stayed home.... That's a very real part of this story. Had the candidate been a different person, I'm not sure these stats would have looked quite the same.

    May 9, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  13. Astounded

    Well....then this shows two things.

    Black people are racist.

    Voter suppression is a myth.

    May 9, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  14. Larry in Houston

    Hate to be a bearer of bad tidings – but when 2016 rolls around, they won't care by that time – Truth be known, If there isn't a guy of "color" that is running for the next potus – they most likely won't or don't care if they vote or not.

    ""black voters turned out to the presidential polls at a higher rate than whites""

    That record will most likely stand – for a long time.

    May 9, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  15. John

    How agravating that must be for Republicans after spending so much time trying to convince Latinos that they actually like them regardless of their actions in congress.

    May 9, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  16. BHO123

    We had to support OUR president. Making history!

    May 9, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. laserw

    And with the blacks voting at over 90% for Democrats, the racist vote is alive and well. Given a chance for "one of their own" against someone who actually has experience in business, these fools chose the failed candidate because of his skin color. America – that is racism right there. If 90% of whites had voted a white candidate, you know what the lead story on the day after the elections would have been.

    May 9, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  18. lifeknoxhard

    The title is incorrect and leads people to think that a higher number of blacks voted, when it is just a higher percentage of the black community voted.

    May 9, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  19. Michael Murphy

    If 93% of whites voted for the white candidate, everyone would scream racism. Of course when 93% of blacks vote for the black guy, that's no problem at all.

    May 9, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  20. Jesper Franklin

    Probably because they all voted twice.

    May 9, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  21. ironmike

    Then that makes us whites the minority and we should get all the benifits and protection that the blacks get from being the minority right?

    May 9, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  22. Kevin McGill

    Nicely done white people

    May 9, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  23. Chris

    Yeah...No kidding. We all knew this looking at who won. It was a vote on race for many, not leadership.

    May 9, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  24. Duke

    Is that actual blacks that voted, or the number of votes cast by black voters.

    May 9, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  25. Steve

    Plenty of whites voted for Obama too. Self included.

    May 9, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
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