The North Carolina Electorate: Asian & Hispanic Voters

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.

nc-asian-and-hispanic-adults-less-likely-to-be-voting-eligible

Among the voting eligible populations, current voter registration data indicates lower registration rates among Asian and Hispanic adults. Continue reading

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NC in Focus: Who are NC’s Democratic voters?

As of October 1st, North Carolina had 5.6 million active, registered voters. Of these, 2.2 million or 40% were registered as a Democrat.

Age

Older voters are the most likely to register as a Democrat, partly reflecting the legacy of the “Solid South.” Nearly 1 in 2 voters ages 75 and older—48%—are registered Democrats compared to 35% of 18-34 year-olds, 37% of 35-54 year-olds, and 43% of voters ages 55-74. As a result, older adults comprise a larger share of the state’s Democratic voters than the overall electorate.

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Reflecting this age structure, North Carolina’s registered Democrats have the highest proportion of voters registered before 1990: 22% compared to 20% of Republicans and 7% of unaffiliated voters.

Race/ethnicity

While North Carolina’s registered Republicans are overwhelmingly white, registered Democrats are much more likely to be black. Continue reading

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NC in Focus: Who are NC’s Republican voters?

As of October 1st, North Carolina had 5.6 million active, registered voters. Of these, 1.8 million or 31% were registered as Republican.

Age

Younger voters are the least likely to register as Republican, reflecting their higher affinity for registering unaffiliated. Just 25% of voters ages 18-34 are registered Republican compared to 32% of 35-54 year-olds, 34% of 55-74 year-olds, and 35% of voters ages 75 and older. As a result, older adults, especially those ages 55-74, comprise a larger share of Republican voters than the overall electorate (36% vs. 33%).

age-composition-republican-voters

North Carolina’s registered Republicans have generally been in the state slightly longer than non-registered Republicans. Continue reading

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NC in Focus: Who are NC’s unaffiliated voters?

As of October 1st, North Carolina had 5.6 million active, registered voters. Of these, 1.6 million or 29% were registered as unaffiliated.

Age

Younger voters are more likely to register as unaffiliated: 39% of voters ages 18-34 are unaffiliated compared to 30% of 35-54 year-olds, 23% of 55-74 year-olds, and 17% of voters ages 75 and older. The median age of unaffiliated voters is just 43 compared to 52 for voters registered with a party. As a result, young voters comprise a larger share of active unaffiliated voters than their share of the overall likely electorate (36% vs. 26%).

age-composition-of-nc-unaffiliated-voters

Reflecting the youth of the unaffiliated voters, these unaffiliated voters are generally newer entrants to the state’s electorate than voters who are affiliated with a major political party. Over half (52%) of unaffiliated voters first registered in North Carolina in 2010 or later compared to 33% of voters registered as Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian.

Race/ethnicity

There are also significant differences in the likelihood of registering unaffiliated by race and ethnicity. Continue reading

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One reason for an increasingly diverse young population? Population aging.

In his recent article about diversity in young Americans, William Frey points to “a noteworthy demographic dynamic [that] is making the young post-millennial generation more racially diverse – the absolute decline in the number of white children (persons under age 18).” This, too, is happening in North Carolina. In 2015, North Carolina had 57,000 fewer white children than in 2010, with the declines most pronounced at ages 10 and under. These declines may be partly due to fertility declines, but they are more significantly impacted by population aging and an overall decrease in the number of potential white parents.

There were 100,000 fewer white (non-Hispanic) adults ages 35-49 living in North Carolina in 2015 than in 2010. This is not because of out-migration. Rather, it is driven by the aging-in and aging-out of groups with different population sizes. Individuals who were 45-49 in 2010 aged into the 50-54 year old category in 2015 and out of the 35-49 population. They were replaced by individuals who were 30-34 in 2010.

Individuals age 45-49 in 2010 were the youngest Baby Boomers and were the largest population of non-Hispanic whites in the state (484,000). The population of non-Hispanic white 30-34-year-olds in 2010 was substantially smaller: 368,000 or about 115,000 fewer individuals than the 45-49 year-olds they were replacing. The observed decline in the size of the 35-49 year old population—a loss of 106,315 individuals between 2010 and 2015—can be fully explained by population aging. The much smaller base of potential parents contributes significantly to the declining size of the white child population.

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