Pew Study: 2008 Electorate Most Diverse Yet
By Dan Balz
A new study by the Pew Research Center found that participation rates among African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans all rose between 2004 and 2008, leaving the share of the electorate accounted for by white voters at an all-time low of 76.3 percent.
African American women voted at higher participation rates than any other racial or ethnic group, according to the study, which was based on an analysis of Census data. The study found that 68.8 percent of eligible black women voted in the last election, an increase of 5.1 percentage points.
White women were the next highest in participation rates, followed by white men, black men, Latino women and Latino men. Asian American men and women voted ranked at the bottom in terms of participation rates.
Overall, African Americans accounted for 12.1 percent of the electorate, up from 11 percent in 2004. Black turnout increased by two million voters.
Latinos increased their share of the electorate from 6 percent to 7.4 percent between 2004 and 2008, and, like African Americans, saw their numbers grow by two million voters. The Asian American share of the electorate grew from 2.3 percent to 2.5 percent.
Twenty years ago, the presidential electorate was 84.9 percent white. It has decreased in each presidential election since then, but the sharpest decline came between 2004 and 2008.
Obama's candidacy was a factor in the higher participation rates among minorities, but population growth among minority groups also contributed to the changing composition of the electorate, according to the study, which was authored by Mark Hugo Lopez and Paul Taylor.
Posted at 6:34 PM ET on Apr 30, 2009
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