The immigrant voting bloc is considerable in the U.S. according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data. A record-breaking 23 million naturalized U.S. citizens will be eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election — that’s about a 10% of the nation’s overall electorate.
The number of foreign-born eligible voters who have gained citizenship through naturalization is up 93% since 2000. For omparison, the U.S.-born eligible voter population grew by just 18%, from 181 million in 2000 to 215 million in 2020.
Most immigrant-eligible voters are either from Hispanic or Asian countries, the research found, with Mexico producing the single largest group, at 16% of all foreign-born voters. Over half of foreign-born voters — 56% — live in California, New York, Texas and Florida. Another two-thirds have lived in the U.S. for over 20 years, 63% are proficient in English.
The immigrant population has increased from 9.6 million in 1965 when the Immigration and Nationality Act became law; it has now hit 45 million, accounting for about 13.9% of the population. Most are either from Latin America or Asia.
The research also has a timely dynamic.
“Nearly half (46%) of the nation’s immigrant eligible voters live in states with Democratic primaries or caucuses that take place on or before March 3, Super Tuesday,” the study said.
“California will hold its Democratic Party primary on March 3, three months earlier than in 2016, bumping up the share of the nation’s immigrant eligible voters that live in Super Tuesday or earlier states. Out of California’s 25.9 million eligible voters, 21% (5.5 million) are foreign born, the highest share of any state through Super Tuesday and in the nation,” the study said.
“Other states with primaries or caucuses on or before Super Tuesday that have large immigrant populations include Texas (1.8 million immigrant eligible voters), Massachusetts (619,000), Virginia (550,000), North Carolina (307,000) and Nevada (293,000). These states, plus California, hold four-in-ten of the nation’s immigrant eligible voters.”
The research is based on the U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey, along with the 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 sand 2020 supplement surveys charting voting registration, voting patterns and population trends.