Blacks voted at a higher rate than whites in the 2012 election, the first time on record that has occurred, the Census Bureau said Thursday. Sixty-six percent of eligible black voters cast their ballots in the presidential election compared with 64 percent of whites.
“The 2012 increase in voting among blacks continues what has been a long-term trend: since 1996, turnout rates have risen 13 percentage points to the highest levels of any recent presidential election. In contrast, after reaching a high in 2004, non-Hispanic white voting rates have dropped in two consecutive elections. Between 2008 and 2012, rates for non-Hispanic whites dropped from 66.1 percent to 64.1 percent. As recently as 1996, blacks had turnout rates 8 percentage points lower than non-Hispanic whites,” the Census Bureau said.
The increase in black turnout was especially pronounced in the southeastern region.
Hispanic citizens, however, still voted at a lower rate than blacks and whites. The increase in the percentage of minorities who choose to vote has even more impact given that those populations are growing, too, in hard numbers.
“The number of blacks who voted rose by about 1.7 million between the 2008 and 2012 elections. Likewise, the number of Hispanics who voted increased by 1.4 million and the number of Asians by 550,000. At the same time, the number of non-Hispanic white voters declined by about 2 million ─ the only such drop for any single-race group between elections since 1996,” the Census Bureau’s report said.