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. biffyb

    If 93% of white voters had voted for Romney, on a scale of 1-10 how loud would Al Sharpton be yelling?

    May 9, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Black Dynamite

    So we're all clear and on the same page, % of registered voters is a % of the entire population, not the entire population

    Blacks make up about 12% of the population, and whites make up over 60%, so around 5X as many whites vote in any given presidential election.

    May 9, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. greg

    And look what they jobs, but at least they be gettin they free phones and EBT cards.

    May 9, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Stephanie

    Misleading headline–66% of the 13% of Americans who are black voted vs 64% of 78% of Americans who are white. Way more white people voted then black people voted. But nice try.

    May 9, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. marctheduck

    Well, there can be no doubt that they United States is transitioning from a mostly white European (ancestry) demographic to a mostly non-white mixed population. It will be interesting to see if the country fares as well in the future as it did in the past. I guess part of it depends on your definition of success. But you can't stop evolution and things will follow the path of strongest surviving and dominating no matter what is politically correct or nice. Whether America is a leader, follower or servant only time will tell.

    May 9, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Pushover

    Typical misrepresentation of the headline and first pargraph by the mainstream media. "Changing" democraphics had nothing to do with it. You are talking only percentages of each populace. The Albanian block could vote 100%., and they would argue, (the Alabanian vote outvoted whites in 2012 because of changing Demographics", except, there may have only been 1,000 eligible Albanian voters (hypothetical). That shows why you can never trust the MSM and their analysis'. They are so bogus. Latinos are fast out pacing blacks as far as demographics are concerned. Alot of whites didn't vote in blue states beause they knew it was futile, and they were disenfranchised with Democratic voter fraud.

    May 9, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. steven birdsong

    I wonder why that happened?

    May 9, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Lean6

    Yada, yada, yada! After the next election, the headline will read that women outvoted men by a wide margin. Just wait until the GOP finishes the mess that they're already starting in attempts to take down Hillary Clinton. They will disenfranchise even more than they already have...the same way that they outright and repeatedly insulted minorities leading up to the 2012 election. They made sure to offend by several measures too...if the voter ID laws weren't going to get you, Romney hit you with the 47 percent line. I'm proud that enough people were politically conscious enough to recognize that challenge and fight back. They're focusing on race here out of sensationalism and to illicit a response from readers, but the GOP made a mess of EVERYTHING. The GOP voter suppression campaign on top of what people witnessed from them over President Obama's first term was disgusting.

    May 9, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Pushover

    And I question their statistics as well. How is it such high percentages of minorities voted for Obama, but he only won the popular vote by 800,000 out of over 120 mil cast? That includes all candidates. Not a real resounding victory. He did crush in some blue states, and that is how he won the electoral vote in a landslide, but not the popular vote. And the Repubs know that. The red states generally were overwhelming Romney.

    May 9, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. JG

    All things considered, this is not good news for the Good "Old" Party. Might want to start pandering to the right people.

    May 9, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. JRM

    Did they take into consideration how many blacks voted more than once???

    May 9, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Bluesky001

    Headline is B S and so are the facts. As a whole they did not out vote whites when the percentage of whites in the US is higher. Totally misleading. If the numbers are correct then more dead black voters voted this election.

    May 9, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. sly

    Ho ho ho ... lots of white folks with their panties all in a bind over this fact!

    God Bless America – finally, we approaching those ideals stated in our Declaration of Independence.

    May 9, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. dialogos68

    And........ Blacks are suffering the most under obama too!

    May 9, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Josh

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

    May 9, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Michael

    Greg, that free phone program you speak of was created by Reagan when he was President. Just want you to be informed...its not some Obama plan to hand out free phones in exchange for votes.

    May 9, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Sametestsameresults

    As a white middle aged man who voted for president Obama, I am still concerned with the number of people of ANY race that do not vote. If you are a citizen in this country you should vote period. If you choose not to, I dont want to hear, read or know about your political opinion. The fact of the matter is that America is getting less white and some of my age/racial group are threatened by that. When I grew up in my small town in MN one black family moved in during the 60s. ( I was told this by my parents later) this family mailed a letter to everyone asking if it was alright that they be a neighbor? My first cousins replied NO we don't want you, guess what? They have consistantly voted GOP since, even though the Dem's back then had the Dixie crats who were as racist as the Tea Party is now. Now these family members and older siblings all are Tea Party memebers. They are threatened by change and they want things to be like they were back in the day. Well wake up America....we can never go back.

    May 9, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. David Taitano

    What they should research is the percentage of blacks that voted in 2008 as compared to any other election. I think that they would find that many black voters were only voting because there was a black candidate on the ballot.

    May 9, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. JRM

    The Gop does'nt need to pander to any group, just find an everyday candidate that appeals to everyone.

    May 9, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Larry

    This means that the American experiment is working; this is fantastic news.

    May 9, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. JAS

    Can it be that whites are now the minority?

    May 9, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Roger

    And in many counties, up to 140% or not only black voters, but all Democrat voters, turned out for the election. Let's give a hand to the Democrats for being pillars of Democracy!!

    May 9, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. c

    Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America-that means the other 43 were white men; whom, I presume were overwhelmingly supported by white people. It only took us 400 years of lynchings, water hoses and Bull Conners German Shepards. Obama makes this African proud to be an American. And that includes his white side.

    May 9, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. BBB

    The liberal media is trying to be Obamas mouthpiece and they are making a bigger deal out of this then it actually is. Romney WAS HISPANIC LOL. The republican party isnt finished it will be back...

    May 9, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Kevin

    @pushover his win was bigger than either of Bush's wins and not far behind Clinton's numbers in 1992. When Bush was reelected in 2004 he had "a mandate from the people". But Obama had a bigger margin of victory, in both the electoral college and in popular votes, and yet conservatives refuse to work with him It's shameful.

    May 9, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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