Election 2020: The Most Diverse Electorate in U.S. History
Date: October 1, 2020
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, 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%|
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|
- 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.