In November of even numbered years, the Current Population Survey (CPS) asks citizens aged 18 whether they registered to vote and whether they voted. The data provide definitive information on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the electorate. (The CPS is conducted by the Census Bureau and is best known as the source of monthly data on the unemployment rate.) The material in this fact sheet for 2000, 2002 and 2004 comes from tabulations of the November CPS supplements.
For 2006, the Pew Hispanic Center developed estimates of the population for age, race and ethnic group and nativity/citizenship. The first step was to estimate the November 2006 civilian, non-institutional population (the CPS universe) by age, sex, and race/ethnicity by projecting the Census Bureau’s August 2006 official population estimate forward to November 2006. Populations for ages 18-20, 21-24, and five-year age groups to ages 75 and over were estimated by adding the annual change in the age groups for August 2005–2006 to the estimated population for November 2005. Separate estimates were developed for the Hispanic population and four major race groups in the non Hispanic population—white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander (API), and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN). Persons with multiple race identities were assigned to major race groups using a hierarchical assignment method; the hierarchy is Black, Asian, White, AIAN. See Suro, Fry, and Passel 2005 for more details.
The foreign-born population in 2006 and the second and third plus generations among natives were estimated from three percentages for each age-race/ethnic group: (a) the percentage foreign-born; (b) the percentage naturalized of the foreign-born population; and (c) the percentage 2nd generation among the native population. Initial estimates of these percentages were obtained by averaging several sources: (a) August 2006 CPS; (b) June–August 2006 CPSs; (c) March–May 2006 CPSs; (d) November 2004 CPS; (e) November 2005 CPS; and (f) the 2005 base population for forthcoming Pew Hispanic Center projections. The percentages by age for each race/ethnic and citizenship-nativity group were smoothed. Then, the estimated November 2006 nativity and citizen populations were calibrated with demographic projections and administrative data on naturalizations for fiscal years 2004 and 2005.from the Office of Immigration Statistics in the Department of Homeland Security.
To estimate potential registered voters in 2006, the percentage registered in the November 2004 CPS for 7 age groups (18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74, 75 and older) and 3 nativity/generation groups (naturalized citizens, 2nd generation, 3rd+ generations) were computed for each of the five race/ethnic groups. Those percentages were then applied to the estimated November 2006 population in various scenarios.
For a detailed discussion of findings from the November 2004 CPS supplement see Hispanics and the 2004 Election: Population, Electorate and Voters, Pew Hispanic Center, June 2005.