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Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2016

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Sound Bites

Attribute to: Thom File, Statistician, U.S. Census Bureau

Voter Turnout

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video   Voter Turnout   [8.1 MB]
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“In 2016, 61.4 percent of the citizen voting-age population reported voting. This was actually not statistically different from the 2012 election, when 61.8 percent reported voting.  However, the new data release also allows us to unpack voting rates by demographic factors like race and age and Hispanic origin and that’s where we see some really interesting differences between 2016 and other recent elections.”

Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin

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“Historically speaking, whites have tended to vote at higher rates than other race groups. This was true until 2008 when the reported black voting rate was nearly even with whites.  Then, in 2012, the black voting rate actually surpassed the white voting rate for the first time, and that received a lot of attention.  The big question after 2012 was whether this represented a legitimate voter turnout realignment, or was it simply a temporary fluctuation.”

Voter Turnout by Share and Historic Differences

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“In recent elections, reported voters have grown more racially and ethnically diverse.  In most cycles since 1980, we have seen declines in the share of voters who are white, and increases in the share of voters who are black and Hispanic. In 2016, this actually was not the case, as the share of voters who were white did not drop compared to 2012, while the share of voters who were black actually decreased.”

Voter Turnout by Age

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Component ID: #ti2141626424

“In general, older Americans vote at higher rates than younger Americans and in 2016, this was again the case. The older the group the higher the voting rate, with the highest being about 71 percent for those 65 and older. However, even though young people reported the lowest overall turnout of any age group, 18 to 29 year olds were the only group to see their turnout increase relative to 2012. Here, turnout increased by about a percentage point for this youngest age group, whereas older age groups had rates either slightly lower or the same as in 2012.”

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Public Information Office Contacts

News media: 301-763-3030 or pio@census.gov

Non-media: 1-800-923-8282 or ask.census.gov

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