North Carolina’s population is rapidly diversifying. Since 2000, the state’s Asian population has more than doubled, increasing from 114,000 to 268,000, a growth rate of 136%. The Hispanic population has grown at a similar pace, with even more significant numeric increases. In 2000, North Carolina had 379,000 Hispanic residents. By 2015, the Hispanic population was nearly 912,000, an increase of more than half a million or 141% over fifteen years.
This diversity is not fully reflected in the state’s electorate, however. Just 2.3% of North Carolina’s active, registered voters identify as Hispanic compared to 9.1% of the total population. Similarly, Asian voters comprised 1.1% of North Carolina registered voters while making up 2.7% of the total population. What accounts for these differences?
First, North Carolina’s Asian and Hispanic residents are younger than the national average, making them more likely to be ineligible to vote due to age. In 2015:
- 37% of NC Hispanics were under 18 compared to 32% nationwide.
- 24% of NC Asians were under 18 compared to 20% nationwide.
In addition, North Carolina Asian and Hispanic adults are less likely to be eligible to vote due to citizenship status. Nearly all of North Carolina black and white adults are eligible to vote (9%). In contrast, just 60% of North Carolina’s Asian adults are citizens compared to 68% of Asians nationwide. Less than half of North Carolina’s Hispanic adults are citizens—47%—the lowest rate of any state in the nation.
Among the voting eligible populations, current voter registration data indicates lower registration rates among Asian and Hispanic adults. Continue reading