Released: October 1, 2012
Latinos in the 2012 Election: Washington
This profile provides key demographic information on Latino eligible voters1 and other major groups of eligible voters in Washington. 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 Washington’s Eligible Voter Population
- The Hispanic population in Washington is the 12th largest in the nation.4 About 760,000 Hispanics reside in Washington, 1.5% of all Hispanics in the United States.
- Washington’s population is 11% Hispanic, the 15th largest Hispanic population share nationally.
- There are 271,000 Hispanic eligible voters in Washington—the 12th largest Hispanic eligible voter population nationally. California ranks first with 5.9 million.
- Some 6% of Washington eligible voters are Hispanic, ranking the Hispanic eligible voter share 18th nationally. New Mexico ranks first with 39%.
- More than one-third (36%) of Hispanics in Washington are eligible to vote, ranking Washington 33rd 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. Fully 37% of Hispanic eligible voters in Washington 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 Washington eligible voters and 22% of all U.S. eligible voters are ages 18 to 29.
- Citizenship and Nativity. Among Hispanic eligible voters in Washington, 21% are naturalized U.S. citizens, less than Hispanic eligible voters nationwide (25%). Only 8% of all eligible voters in Washington and the U.S. overall are naturalized citizens.
- Hispanic Origin. Hispanic eligible voters in Washington are predominantly of Mexican origin, as is true nationwide. Nearly three-in-four (73%) Hispanic eligible voters in Washington are Mexican. An additional 7% are Puerto Rican and 2% are Cuban. Among all U.S. Hispanic eligible voters, 59% are Mexican, 14% are Puerto Rican, and 5% are Cuban.
- Educational Attainment. More than two-in-ten Latino eligible voters in Washington (23%) have not completed high school, more than double the 9% of all Washington eligible voters who have not completed high school.
- Homeownership. More than half of Hispanic eligible voters in Washington (55%) live in owner-occupied homes, which is just below the share of all Hispanic eligible voters nationwide (58%). Greater shares of all eligible voters in Washington (67%) and all eligible voters nationwide (69%) live in owner-occupied homes.
Characteristics of Eligible Voters in Washington, by Race and Ethnicity
- Number of Eligible Voters. White eligible voters outnumber Hispanic eligible voters in Washington by more than 14 to 1. Hispanic eligible voters are about equal to Asian eligible voters, and they outnumber black eligible voters by almost 2 to 1.
- Age. Latino eligible voters are younger than black, Asian and white eligible voters in Washington. Some 37% of Latinos are ages 18 to 29, compared with 26% of black eligible voters, 22% of Asian eligible voters and 19% of white eligible voters.
- Educational Attainment. Hispanic eligible voters have lower levels of education than do Asian, black and white eligible voters in Washington. Some 23% of Hispanic eligible voters have not obtained a high school diploma. This compares with 14% of Asian eligible voters, 12% of black eligible voters and 7% of white eligible voters in the state.
- Homeownership. Hispanic eligible voters (55%) are more likely to live in owner-occupied homes than black (38%) eligible voters in Washington, but they are less likely to do so than Asian (74%) or white (70%) eligible voters in Washington.
- 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 “whites,” “Asians” and “blacks” are to the non-Hispanic components of those populations. ↩
- This statistical profile of eligible voters in California 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 on the 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. ↩