Released: October 1, 2012
Latinos in the 2012 Election: South Carolina
This profile provides key demographic information on Latino eligible voters1 and other major groups of eligible voters in South Carolina.2 All demographic data are based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey.3
Hispanics in South Carolina’s Eligible Voter Population
- The Hispanic population in South Carolina ranks 29th in the nation.4 About 232,000 Hispanics reside in South Carolina, 0.5% of all Hispanics in the United States.
- South Carolina’s population is 5% Hispanic, ranking 34th in Hispanic population share nationally.
- There are 66,000 Hispanic eligible voters in South Carolina—ranking 33rd in Hispanic eligible voter population nationally. California ranks first with 5.9 million.
- Some 2% of South Carolina eligible voters are Hispanic, ranking 41st in Hispanic eligible voter share nationally. New Mexico ranks first with 39%.
- Fewer than one-third of Hispanics in South Carolina (28%) are eligible to vote, ranking South Carolina 42nd nationwide in the share of the Hispanic population that is eligible to vote. By contrast, more than three-quarters (79%) of the state’s white population is eligible to vote.
Characteristics of Eligible Voters
- Age. More than one-third of Hispanic eligible voters in South Carolina (38%) are ages 18 to 29, greater than the share of all Latino eligible voters nationwide (33%) in that age range. By contrast, only 21% of all South Carolina eligible voters and 22% of all U.S. eligible voters are ages 18 to 29.
- Citizenship and Nativity. Among Hispanic eligible voters in South Carolina, 22% are naturalized U.S. citizens. This compares with 25% of Hispanic eligible voters in the U.S., but just 2% of all eligible voters in South Carolina and 8% of eligible voters in the U.S overall.
- Hispanic Origin. Hispanic eligible voters in South Carolina have a different Hispanic origin profile from Hispanic eligible voters nationwide. Slightly more than one-third (37%) of Hispanic eligible voters in South Carolina are of Mexican origin, 27% of Puerto Rican origin and 36% claim other Hispanic origin. Among all Hispanic eligible voters nationwide, six-in-ten (59%) are Mexican, 14% are Puerto Rican and about one-quarter (26%) are of some other Hispanic origin.
- Educational Attainment. Two-in-ten Latino eligible voters in South Carolina (22%) have not completed high school, more than the 15% of all South Carolina eligible voters who have not completed high school.
- Homeownership. Six-in-ten Hispanic eligible voters in South Carolina (60%) live in owner-occupied homes, compared with 58% of all Hispanic eligible voters nationwide. Greater shares of all eligible voters in South Carolina (70%) and all eligible voters nationwide (69%) live in owner-occupied homes.
Characteristics of Eligible Voters in South Carolina, by Race and Ethnicity
- Number of Eligible Voters. White eligible voters outnumber Hispanic eligible voters in South Carolina by more than 35 to 1, and black eligible voters outnumber Hispanics by more than 14 to 1. There are more than twice as many Hispanic eligible voters (66,000) as Asian eligible voters (25,000).
- Age. Latino eligible voters are younger than black, white and Asian eligible voters in South Carolina. Some 38% of Latinos are ages 18 to 29, compared with 25% of black eligible voters, 19% of white eligible voters and 16% of Asian eligible voters.
- Educational Attainment. Hispanic eligible voters have lower levels of education than do Asian and white eligible voters in South Carolina. Some 22% of Hispanic eligible voters have not obtained a high school diploma, compared with 15% of Asian eligible voters and 12% of white eligible voters. A similar share of black eligible voters (23%) and Hispanic eligible voters have not graduated from high school, but a larger share of Hispanics (18%) than blacks (12%) have a bachelor’s degree or more. More than one-quarter of white eligible voters (27%) and 44% of Asian eligible voters in South Carolina have at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Homeownership. Hispanic eligible voters (60%) are slightly more likely to live in owner-occupied homes than black eligible voters (56%) in South Carolina, but they are less likely to do so than Asian (77%) or white (76%) South Carolina eligible voters.
- Eligible voters are defined as U.S. citizens ages 18 and older. Eligible voters are not the same as registered voters. To cast a vote, in all states except North Dakota, an eligible voter must first register to vote. ↩
- The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are used interchangeably. References to other races and ethnicities are to the non-Hispanic components of those populations. ↩
- This statistical profile of eligible voters is based on the Census Bureau's 2010 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of about 3 million addresses. The data used for this statistical profile come from the 2010 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), representing a 1% sample of the U.S. population. Like any survey, estimates from the ACS are subject to sampling error and (potentially) measurement error. More information is available on ACS sampling strategy and associated error. ↩
- Rankings for “Percent of Hispanic population eligible to vote” are based on the District of Columbia and the 46 states whose Hispanic samples in the 2010 ACS are large enough to generate reliable estimates. All other rankings are based on the District of Columbia and the 50 states. ↩