This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Election Demographics Revealed

There was no question that demographics drove the most recent presidential election here in the US, as I discussed several times last November. Every March the Current Population Survey includes sociodemographic questions beyond the usual monthly labor force issues, and after each national election, respondents are asked about how they voted in that election. The Census Bureau just today released those results, with the major headline that "Blacks Voted at a Higher Rate than Whites in 2012 Election — A First, Census Bureau Reports." However, the data are a little more nuanced than that, since there were regional differences. For example:
Although blacks voted at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites nationally in 2012, this result was not uniform across the country. In the East North Central, East South Central, Middle Atlantic, and South Atlantic divisions, blacks voted at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites. In the Mountain and Pacific divisions, non-Hispanic whites voted at higher rates than blacks. In the New England, West North Central and West South Central divisions, voting rates for the two groups were not significantly different from each other.
Beyond the increase in voting among blacks, the increasing diversity of the US population is reflected in the increasing diversity of the electorate:
"Blacks have been voting at higher rates, and the Hispanic and Asian populations are growing rapidly, yielding a more diverse electorate," said Thom File, a sociologist in the Census Bureau's Education and Social Stratification Branch and the report's author. "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."
Two disturbing trends in the data are that men are falling behind women in terms of turning out to vote, and younger people are less likely to vote than used to be the case, especially young men.

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