The number of Latino eligible voters increased in 2010, from 13.2 million in 2000 to 21.3 million. About 6.6 million Latinos voted in last year’s election -— a record for a midterm -— according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center. That made Latinos a larger share of the electorate in 2010 than in any previous midterm election, representing 6.9% of all voters, up from 5.8% in 2006. However, even though more Latinos than ever are participating in the nation’s elections, their representation among the electorate remains below their representation in the general population. In 2010, 16.3% of the nation’s population was Latino, but only 10.1% of eligible voters and fewer than 7% of voters were Latino.

The gap was driven by two demographic factors -— youth and non-citizenship. More than one third of Latinos (34.9%) are younger than the voting age of 18. And an additional 22.4% are of voting age, but are not U.S. citizens. As a result, the share of the Latino population eligible to vote is smaller than it is among any other group. Just 42.7% of the nation’s Latino population is eligible to vote, while more than three-in-four (77.7%) of whites, two-thirds of blacks (67.2%) and more than half of Asians (52.8%) are eligible to vote. However, even among eligible voters, Latino participation rates lag those of other groups. In 2010, 31.2% of Latino eligible voters say they voted, while nearly half (48.6%) of white eligible voters and 44.0% of black eligible voters said the same. Read More