Released: October 1, 2012
Latinos in the 2012 Election: Tennessee
This profile provides key demographic information on Latino eligible voters1 and other major groups of eligible voters in Tennessee.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 Tennessee’s Eligible Voter Population
- The Hispanic population in Tennessee ranks 27th in the nation.4 About 287,000 Hispanics reside in Tennessee, 0.6% of all Hispanics in the United States.
- Tennessee’s population is 5% Hispanic, ranking 37th in Hispanic population share nationally.
- There are 76,000 Hispanic eligible voters in Tennessee—ranking 30th in Hispanic eligible voter population nationally. California ranks first with 5.9 million.
- Only 2% of Tennessee eligible voters are Hispanic, ranking 43rd in Hispanic eligible voter share nationally. New Mexico ranks first with 39%.
- Fewer than one-third of Hispanics in Tennessee (27%) are eligible to vote, ranking Tennessee 44th nationwide in the share of the Hispanic population that is eligible to vote. By contrast, more than three-quarters (78%) of the state’s white population is eligible to vote.
Characteristics of Eligible Voters
- Age. More than one-third of Hispanic eligible voters in Tennessee (35%) 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 Tennessee eligible voters and 22% of all U.S. eligible voters are ages 18 to 29.
- Citizenship and Nativity. Among Hispanic eligible voters in Tennessee, 24% 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 Tennessee and 8% of eligible voters in the U.S overall.
- Hispanic Origin. Hispanic eligible voters in Tennessee have a different Hispanic origin profile from Hispanic eligible voters nationwide. Nearly half (47%) of Hispanic eligible voters in Tennessee are of Mexican origin, 17% of Puerto Rican origin and 35% 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 Tennessee (22%) have not completed high school, more than the 15% of all Tennessee eligible voters who have not completed high school.
- Homeownership. Some 55% of Hispanic eligible voters in Tennessee live in owner-occupied homes, compared with 58% of all Hispanic eligible voters nationwide. Greater shares of all eligible voters in Tennessee (70%) and all eligible voters nationwide (69%) live in owner-occupied homes.
Characteristics of Eligible Voters in Tennessee, by Race and Ethnicity
- Number of Eligible Voters. White eligible voters outnumber Hispanic eligible voters in Tennessee by almost 50 to 1, and black eligible voters outnumber Hispanics by almost 10 to 1. There are almost twice as many Hispanic eligible voters (76,000) as Asian eligible voters (40,000).
- Age. Latino eligible voters are younger than black, Asian and white eligible voters in Tennessee. Some 35% of Latinos are ages 18 to 29, compared with 27% of black eligible voters, 22% of Asian eligible voters and 19% of white eligible voters.
- Educational Attainment. Hispanic eligible voters have lower levels of high school education than do black, white and Asian eligible voters in Tennessee. Some 22% of Hispanic eligible voters have not obtained a high school diploma, compared with 18% of black eligible voters, 15% of white eligible voters and 13% of Asian eligible voters. However, a larger share of Hispanic (18%) than black (14%) eligible voters in Tennessee have a bachelor’s degree or more. More than two-in-ten white (22%) and more than four-in-ten Asian (42%) eligible voters in Tennessee have at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Homeownership. Hispanic eligible voters (55%) are slightly more likely to live in owner-occupied homes than black eligible voters (51%) in Tennessee, but they are less likely to do so than Asian (79%) or white (75%) Tennessee 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. ↩