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. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    You and I, Lynda, represent America. We are of different backgrounds, perhaps even different races, I believe that at some point of our lives we have both voted Republican, and have voted Democrat.
    We go with whom we think is the best candidate given the choices. Who reaches our hearts. Who makes us believe and relive the American Dream.

    Absolutely, we represent America. Our different backgrounds, our different races (I am white BTW) are what makes America so great. I wouldn't have it any other way. We bring our life experience to the voting booth ... our hopes and our dreams of continuing to improve America ... adding a few checks and balances now and again. And, yes, I've voted both Democrat and Republican. And yes, both parties have their drawbacks. This new GOP, though? It has gone way beyond what is acceptable.

    What I am weary of are the folks who either think they know how I think, or are too blind to understand that I am not a political partisan, and never will be. I suspect many are so insecure in their own skin that they haven't yet been able to understand we are ALL American. Each and every last one of us. Regardless of party. Regardless of politics.

    The baiters, though? Shrugging my shoulders. I think we all know their game plan.

    May 9, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Peoples Statue of Illinois


    How many of them voted multiple times like the black woman poll worker in CInncinnati who got away with her vote counting 6 times for Obama? Maybe CNN could update America on what happened to her or did she get a Presidential Pardon?
    And what about the counties that had more than 100% of the population voting? There where a whooolllleeee lot of those. And the districts of mixed race that had no, zero, nada, not even one, vote for Romney. One all black county maybe, but a bunch of them?!?

    May 9, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Sunny

    See how these numbers play out the next time there are 2 whites running.

    May 9, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. awaiting moderation

    I think it is a waste of time anymore.Look what we got. Up there now waiting how the embassy mess is going to affect him.What happened to just telling the truth.All the voters stuck to Bill and all will stick to Hillary not matter what they do or say.

    May 9, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Brad

    Well, i'm simply puzzled. What a strange thing to happen. Weird. Perplexed in fact.

    May 9, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. randy p

    insecure cowards news media, intelligence community and law enforcement. cowards insecure you are

    May 9, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. BigBearCarolina

    As far as those who are saying that the media continues to try and divide the country, should they lie? If it is the truth and divides the country, the media has no blame.

    May 9, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Seth Jensen

    Why do white folks always have so much hate. They world is your my friends.

    May 9, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    I am sick to death of this topic now. It has done nothing except bring the racists out full force. For the 2nd time in the history of the US we had a black candidate. An intelligent, intellectual, charming candidate that actually wanted to help America, so many people voted for him. Blacks, whites, hispanics and Asians. The GOP went out of their way to alienate blacks and hispanics. Anyone recall the all white RNC? Where they actually spit on the black workers. What self respecting minority would vote for so much hate??

    May 9, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Halkes

    To those saying that black people only voted for Obama because he's half black, they've been voting overwhelmingly Democrat since the 60's. Clinton's number's were 83% and 84% in '92 and '96 (which were lower than they would have been because of Ross Perot), Al Gore won 90% of the black vote, Kerry got 88%. If anything there may be the argument that black voter turnout was high because of Obama's race, but they always vote Democrat regardless of who is running.

    May 9, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Bob

    Who would have guessed?

    May 9, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Mr.HowdyDoody

    I'd like to see how many times the same name voted in different districts.

    May 9, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. snoozie

    Way to go, my African American friends! Good on you!!

    May 9, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. jake

    when you have crap to vote for that is what you get. more to come.

    May 9, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. sly

    Makes y'all white boys wanna cry with your panties in a bun now doesn't it?

    This is America. It is OUR nation.

    Y'all are welcome to relocate to somewhere whiter – south pole is an option.

    Now, get out of my way! Yee Haw! God Bless America! God Bless President Obama!

    May 9, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Sure Getting Worried

    Boy are the CONServatives getting mighty worried! Desperately trying voter suppression, as reports have brought out, with minorities through all kinds of hard rules and regulations just to try to get them not to vote knowing their vote will go to the Democratic candidate is pretty darn low. But that will virtually Guarantee that the votes of minorities, the poor and others will continue to Pour In for the Democrats. These CONServatives are pathetic to say the least and will never rebound after the last presidential election. They had it coming and it could not have happened to a better group!

    May 9, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. dirtymuslims

    racist CNN strikes again, misleading headline. When it should read a higher percentage of blacks etc. not the number of blacks.

    May 9, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. NYVeteran

    Time for Fox News and the GOP to revert to poll taxes and Jim Crow. If you cant win on substance, try to disenfranchise voters, right?

    May 9, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Russellohh

    Well obviously. 64% of whites, hehehee. For all the teary eyed screams of "voter fraud" and "OMG all the blacks voted for Obama dats RACIST", it appears only half the white population even showed up to vote. White people- they'l scream all day on CNN about how evil Obama is, but actually get off the couch and vote?!!? Nevvvvvvvvvvvver!

    May 9, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Moochella

    The Messiah will go down with Benghazi, sleep thight tonight Hillary

    May 9, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. BlackMe

    So, are you sorry yet?

    May 9, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. New Majority

    Eat Your Heart Out People! America is no longer as white as you would like for it to be! We are now the New Majority and with a black president, elected Twice, we can now do virtually anything we want from now on! Better believe it!

    May 9, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. ffortnightly

    Misleading headline. It's about percentages, not raw numbers. Tsk tsk

    May 9, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. NoBody

    That's because out of the 7 million black people in the country about 27 million voted

    May 9, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. ffortnightly

    Totally misleading headline. It's about percentages, not raw numbers. Tsk tsk

    May 9, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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