Latinos in the 2016 Election: California
This profile provides key demographic information on Latino eligible voters1 and other major groups of eligible voters in California.2 All demographic data are based on Pew Research Center tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey.3
Hispanics in California’s Eligible Voter Population
- The Hispanic population in California is the largest in the nation. About 15 million Hispanics reside in California, 27.1% of all Hispanics in the United States.
- California’s population is 39% Hispanic, the second highest Hispanic statewide population share nationally.
- There are 6.9 million Hispanic eligible voters in California—the largest Hispanic statewide eligible voter population nationally. Texas ranks second with 4.8 million.
- Some 28% of California eligible voters are Hispanic, the third largest Hispanic statewide eligible voter share nationally. New Mexico ranks first with 40%.
- Some 46% of Hispanics in California are eligible to vote, ranking California 24th nationwide in the share of the Hispanic population that is eligible to vote. By contrast, 81% of the state’s white population is eligible to vote.
Characteristics of Eligible Voters
- Age. About one-third of Hispanic eligible voters in California (36%) are ages 18 to 29, slightly higher than the share of all Latino eligible voters nationwide (33%) and the share of all California eligible voters (24%) and of all U.S. eligible voters (22%) in that age range.
- Citizenship and Nativity. Among Hispanic eligible voters in California, 26% are naturalized U.S. citizens, close to the 25% of Hispanic eligible voters in the U.S. Some 20% of all eligible voters in California—but just 9% of eligible voters in the U.S. overall—are naturalized U.S. citizens.
- Hispanic Origin. Hispanic eligible voters in California have a different Hispanic origin profile from Hispanic eligible voters nationwide. About eight-in-ten (82%) of Hispanic eligible voters in California are of Mexican origin, 2% are of Puerto Rican origin, and 16% claim other Hispanic origin. Among all Hispanic eligible voters nationwide, 59% are Mexican, 14% are Puerto Rican, and 27% are of some other Hispanic origin.
- Educational Attainment. About one-quarter of Latino eligible voters in California (23%) have not completed high school, about double the 12% of all California eligible voters who have not completed high school and similar to the 22% of Latinos nationwide who have not completed high school.
- Homeownership. Over half of Hispanic eligible voters in California (53%) live in owner-occupied homes, a little lower than the share of all Hispanic eligible voters nationwide (55%). Greater shares of all eligible voters in California (59%) and all eligible voters nationwide (67%) live in owner-occupied homes.
Characteristics of Eligible Voters in California, by Race and Ethnicity
- Number of Eligible Voters. White eligible voters outnumber Hispanic eligible voters in California by about 2 to 1. Hispanic eligible voters outnumber Asian eligible voters by about 2 to 1 and black eligible voters by about 4 to 1.
- Age. Latino eligible voters are younger than white, Asian and black eligible voters in California. Some 36% of Latinos are ages 18 to 29, compared with 18% of white eligible voters, 20% of Asian eligible voters and 25% of black eligible voters.
- Educational Attainment. Hispanic eligible voters have lower levels of education than do white, black and Asian eligible voters in California. Some 23% of Hispanic eligible voters have not obtained a high school diploma, compared with 6% of white eligible voters and 11% of both Asian and black eligible voters.
- Homeownership. Hispanic eligible voters (53%) are more likely to live in owner-occupied homes than black eligible voters (38%) in California, but are less likely to live in owner-occupied homes than white (65%) or Asian (66%) 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 2014 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 2014 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. ↩