Election 2020: The Most Diverse Electorate in U.S. History

The electorate in this year’s elections will be the most diverse and well-educated electorate in the history of the United States. Nationwide, non-Hispanic whites without a college degree were a slight majority of all voters in 2010 (51.0%), but by 2018 had fallen to just 44.6% of all voters. At the same time, Hispanic, Asian American, and Black/African American voting blocs have all increased. All told, the number of non-Hispanic white voters without a college degree shrank by almost 5.5 million between 2010 and 2018, while the number of non-white voters increased by more than 15.3 million and the number of non-Hispanic white voters with a college degree increased by almost 8.5 million. This change occurred all across the country.  Every single state saw the share of non-Hispanic whites overall shrink between 2000 and 2018, our data also shows that non-Hispanic whites without a college degree also shrank as a share of every state’s electorate as well between 2010 and 2018.  

Table 1: U.S. Electorate by Race/Ethnicity

Eligible Voters, 2010 Share of Electorate, 2010 Eligible Voters, 2018 Share of Electorate, 2018 Change in Eligible Voters, 2010-2018 Change in Share of Electorate, 2010-2018
Non-Hispanic White 154,477,000 71.9% 157,495,000 67.5% +3,019,000 -4.4%
---Non-Hispanic White, With College Degree 44,886,000 20.9% 53,371,000 22.9% +8,485,000 +2.0%
---Non-Hispanic White, No College Degree 109,591,000 51.0% 104,124,000 44.6% -5,467,000 -6.4%
Black/African American 26,235,000 12.2% 29,159,000 12.5% +2,924,000 +0.3%
Asian 7,921,000 3.7% 10,513,000 4.5% +2,592,000 +0.8%
Hispanic 21,509,000 10.0% 29,684,000 12.7% +8,174,000 +2.7%
Other 4,829,000 2.2% 6,479,000 2.8% +1,650,000 +0.5%
Total 214,972,000 233,331,000 +18,358,000
Source 2010 and 2018 American Community Survey, 1-Year Samples.

Table 2: U.S. Electorate by Nativity, 2010-2018

Eligible Voters, 2010 Share of Electorate, 2010 Eligible Voters, 2018 Share of Electorate, 2018 Change in Eligible Voters, 2010-2018
U.S.-Born 198,129,000 92.2% 211,670,000 90.7% +13,541,000
Foreign-Born 16,844,000 7.8% 21,660,000 9.3% +4,817,000
Source: 2010 and 2018 American Community Survey, 1-Year Sample.
  • Non-Hispanic whites without a college degree went from being a majority of the electorate in 2010 (51.0%) to less than half (44.6%) of all eligible voters, a decrease of 6.4 percentage points in their share of the electorate.
  • The Hispanic share of the electorate now stands at 12.7%, an increase of almost 3 percentage points since 2010. Hispanics now make up the largest minority group in the U.S. electorate, with 29.7 million eligible voters.
  • The Asian American share of the electorate also increased, reaching 4.5%. Today, there are more than 10.5 million Asian American eligible voters in the United States.
  • The African American share of the electorate also increased between 2010 and 2010, reaching 12.5%, a modest increase of 0.3 percentage points. In total, there are more than 29.5 million African American eligible voters.
  • Immigrant voters also saw significant growth. There are more than 21.7 million foreign-born eligible voters, an increase of more than 4.8 million from 2010. Today, immigrant voters make up 9.3% of the electorate, or more than 1 out of every 11 voters.
  • The largest increase, however, was among college-educated eligible voters. Since 2010 almost 14.7 million additional college-educated voters have joined the electorate. Today, more than 3 out of 10 eligible voters (30.5%) hold at least a bachelor’s degree. As recently as 2010, only 26.3% of the electorate had a college education.

Data on the changing electorate in swing states and in individual states is also available.

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New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…