A comprehensive data report released today by Pew Research about the changing face of the U.S. Latino electorate concluded that Latino millennials will be 12 million or 44% of the country’s 27.3 million eligible Latino voters, “a share greater than any other racial or ethnic group of voters,” according to Pew’s findings.


The Pew report also reported the following:

The median age among the nation’s 35 million U.S.-born Latinos is only 19 (Stepler and Brown, 2015), and Latino youth will be the main driver of growth among Latino eligible voters over the next two decades. Between 2012 and 2016, about 3.2 million young U.S.-citizen Latinos will have advanced to adulthood and become eligible to vote, according to Pew Research Center projections. Nearly all of them are U.S. born—on an annual basis, some 803,000 U.S.-born Latinos reached adulthood in recent years.

Last November, as part of its ongoing series on the Latino vote for the 2016 election cycle, Latino USA explored some of the reasons why Latino millennial voters are being viewed by political parties as an important voting bloc.

Pew also made these top-line observations:

Latinos who became naturalized citizens are the ‘second-largest’ source of Latino voters in 2016. According to Pew, “between 2012 and 2016 some 1.2 million will have [become U.S. citizens].”

Outmigration from Puerto Rico will also play a role in 2016 election. As Pew states, “Since 2012, some 130,000 more Puerto Ricans have left the island than moved there. Florida has been the biggest recipient of these Puerto Rican adult migrants—all of whom are U.S. citizens and eligible to vote in U.S. elections.”

Nonetheless, Pew was quick to shed caution on whether these new findings will result in a large 2016 turnout at the polls for U.S. Latinos:

With this rapid growth, the Latino electorate is projected to make up a record 11.9% of all U.S. eligible voters in 2016 and will pull nearly even with blacks, who will make up 12.4%. As a result, the Latino vote may be poised to have a large impact on the 2016 presidential election. Yet, for many reasons, Latino voters are likely to once again be underrepresented among voters in 2016 compared with their share of eligible voters or their share of the national population.

Pew listed three reasons as to why there might not be a large turnout in 2016 for U.S. Latinos:

Reason 1: Latino turnout rates have been historically low.

In 2012, fewer than half (48%) of Hispanic eligible voters cast a ballot (Lopez and Gonzalez-Barrera, 2013). By comparison, 64.1% of whites and 66.6% of blacks voted. (Asians, at 46.9%, had a turnout rate similar to that of Hispanics.)

However, Pew also emphasized this point:

In 2012, a record 11.2 million Hispanics voted (Lopez and Gonzalez-Barrera, 2013), up from what was a record 9.7 million in 2008 (Lopez and Taylor, 2009). It is possible that a record number of Hispanics could vote in 2016, continuing a pattern of record turnout in presidential elections.

Reason 2: Latino millennials don’t vote.

In 2012, just 37.8% of Latino millennials voted, compared with 53.9% among non-millennial Latinos. The voter turnout rate among Latino millennials also trails that of other millennial groups. Some 47.5% of white millennials and 55% of black millennials voted in 2012. Among Asians, 37.3% of millennials voted.


Reason 3: Latino voters are not in key battleground states.

…the Latino-rich states of California, Texas and New York are not likely to be presidential tossup states. Together, these three account for 52% of all Latino eligible voters in 2016.

Yet, Florida, Nevada and Colorado are likely to once again be battleground states in the race for president. In each of the three, Hispanics make up more than 14% of eligible voters. But in just about every other state expected to have close presidential races, Hispanics make up less than 5% of all eligible voters.


You can access the entire report here, as well as Pew’s detailed 2016 State Election Fact Sheets.

Featured image: (JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

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