Strength of the Latino Vote Examined

Woman casting ballot
(Getty Images)

Latinos will play a significant role in upcoming elections nationwide

The Latino vote will play a significant role in upcoming elections as the Latino population is projected to reach almost a quarter of the total U.S. population by 2040, according to research by UnidosUS and the University of California, Davis, California Civic Engagement Project.

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the number of Latino voters increased 13 percent over 2012, reaching a record high of nearly 13 million. Latinos are now poised to affect key districts in the midterm elections. However, it will require successful mobilization and investment efforts in order to harness the full strength of the Latino electorate, said the study’s author, Mindy Romero, of the California Civic Engagement Project, or CCEP.

The CCEP and UnidosUS will be presenting their latest research at a press briefing, “Latino Tipping Point: How Latinos Are Poised to Impact Key Districts in the Midterm Elections,” Wednesday, June 20, 10 a.m. EDT, at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington DC, 20045. Romero, CCEP founder and director, and Clarissa Martinez de Castro, deputy vice president, UnidosUS, will present the findings.

During the briefing, representatives from UnidosUS and UC Davis will reveal key research findings, including a profile of the Latino voter and predictions of competitive districts where the Latino electorate can have a strong showing at the ballot box. Study findings are based on an analysis of American Community Survey and Catalist voter data.  

Strength of the Latino vote

Some highlights from the research on the vote include:

  • Latinos currently make up 17.8 percent of the nation’s total population at 57.4 million
  • 60 percent of the Latino population are under age 35, making Latinos the youngest major ethnic or racial group in the country
  • Latino voters still experience electoral underrepresentation and need to be mobilized to not only register to vote but also vote
  • The Latino share of the U.S. vote will grow significantly over the next few decades

Voter participation by geographic location

The research found that voter representation varied by location.

  • California had the largest number of Latino voters (3.4 million) in the 2016 elections
  • In California, Latinos make up at least 10 percent of the voters in every competitive congressional district in 2018
  • Latinos made up 20 percent of the voters in Texas during the 2016 general election
  • Florida, statewide, has seen a much higher voter turnout rate for Latinos eligible to vote during the last several election cycles than most states

Media contact(s)

Mindy Romero, Center for Regional Change, 530-665-3010, msromero@ucdavis.edu (Romero is with the California Civic Engagement Project of the Center for Regional Change, UC Davis)

Karen Nikos-Rose, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

Media Resources