Thursday, November 15, 2012
A historic number of Latinos voted for the first time in this election. As predicted, their vote was influential in the national presidential race, fundamental in state races and reflective of a changing demographic across America.
But this election is only the beginning — their vote is likely to double by 2030. A popular statistic to show how influential their voice will be in the coming years is stark: The median age of native-born Latinos in the U.S. is 18, non-Latino whites is 47.
According to Pew Hispanic Center projections, Hispanics will account for 40 percent of the growth in the eligible electorate in the U.S. between now and 2030, at which time 40 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote, up from 23.7 million now.
Although historic, in this election they underperformed. Latinos make up 17 percent of the national electorate, and exit polls suggest as a whole the group turned out around 10 percent. So, 12.5 million Latinos cast ballots, but there were more than 40 million in the country who either did not vote or were not eligible to.
The missing 40 million:
17.6 million — under the age of 18 and thus too young to vote, for now. That vast majority (93 percent) of Latino youths are U.S-born citizens and thus will automatically become eligible to vote once they turn 18.
11.4 million — Adults who were eligible to vote but chose not to.
7.1 million — Adult unauthorized immigrants and would become eligible to vote if Congress were to pass a law creating a pathway to citizenship for them.
5.4 million — Adult legal permanent residents (LPRs) who could not vote because they have not yet become naturalized U.S. citizens.