October 16, 2014

Latino Voters and the 2014 Midterm Elections

Chapter 3: A Profile of Latino Eligible Voters

Demographics of Eligible Voters, by Race and Ethnicity, 2014The demographic characteristics of the Latino electorate are different from other racial or ethnic groups of eligible voters, according to Pew Research Center tabulations of the August 2014 Current Population Survey.

Latino eligible voters are younger than any other group of voters. One-third of Latino eligible voters are ages 18 to 29. This compares with one-quarter of black eligible voters, 21% of Asian eligible voters and 18% of white eligible voters who are in the same age group.

The relative youth of Hispanics is also reflected in the median age of each group. Among eligible voters, the median age of Hispanics is 38 years, compared with 44 years among blacks, 45 years among Asians and 50 years among whites.

Hispanic eligible voters are also more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens (i.e. foreign born) than either white eligible voters or black eligible voters, but less likely than Asian eligible voters to be naturalized.  About one-quarter of all Latino eligible voters (26%) are naturalized U.S. citizens, compared with 63% of Asian eligible voters, 6% of black eligible voters and 3% of white eligible voters. Looked at another way, three-quarters (74%) of Latino eligible voters are U.S. born/

Latino eligible voters are less likely to have completed high school or have a four-year college degree than other groups. Close to one-in-five (18%) Latino eligible voters have less than a high school degree, compared with 7% of white eligible voters, 10% of Asian eligible voters, and 13% of black eligible voters. Latino eligible voters are half as likely to have earned a bachelor’s degree (17%) than white eligible voters (33%), and even less likely to have done so than Asian eligible voters (48%). The share of Latino eligible voters who have completed college is also lower than the share of black eligible voters (20%), though the difference among these two groups is less pronounced.

Among Hispanic eligible voters, 60% are of Mexican origin, 13% are of Puerto Rican origin, 5% are of Cuban origin, 4% are of Dominican origin, 3% are of Salvadoran origin and 15% are of other Central American, South American or other Hispanic origins. After Mexicans, this distribution is somewhat different from that of the overall Hispanic population, where 64% are Mexican, 9% are Puerto Rican, 4% are Cuban, 4% are Salvadoran, and 3% are Dominican (Brown and Patten, 2014).