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Latinos in the 2010 Elections: Washington

Fact Sheet

This statistical profile provides key demographic information of Latino eligible voters in Washington.1 It also contains data on other major groups of eligible voters in Washington.2 All data are based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey.3

Hispanics in Washington’s Eligible Voter Population

  • The Hispanic population in Washington is the 13th-largest in the nation. Some 643,000 Hispanics reside in Washington.
  • The population in Washington is 10% Hispanic, the 16th-highest Hispanic population share nationally.
  • There are 217,000 eligible Hispanic voters in Washington—the 13th-largest Hispanic eligible-voter population nationally. California ranks first with 5.4 million.
  • Some 5% of eligible voters in Washington are Latinos, the 19th-largest Hispanic eligible voter population share nationally. New Mexico ranks first with 38%.
  • One-third (34%) of Latinos in Washington are eligible to vote, ranking Washington 36th nationwide in the share of the Hispanic population that is eligible to vote. In contrast, 78% of the state’s white population is eligible to vote.

Characteristics of Eligible Voters

  • Age. One-third of Hispanic eligible voters in Washington (33%) are ages 18 to 29, greater than the share of all Latino eligible voters nationwide (31%) in that age range. By contrast, only 21% of all Washington eligible voters and 22% of all U.S. eligible voters are ages 18 to 29.
  • Citizenship. Two-in-ten of Hispanic eligible voters in Washington (21%) are naturalized U.S. citizens, compared with 7% of all Washington eligible voters. Hispanic eligible voters in Washington are more likely to be native-born citizens (79%) than are Hispanic eligible voters nationwide (74%).
  • Educational Attainment. One-quarter of Latino eligible voters in Washington (23%) have not completed high school. That was less than the rate for all Latino eligible voters—26%—but greater than the rate for U.S. eligible voters nationwide—13%.
  • Homeownership. Some 57% of Hispanic eligible voters in Washington live in owner-occupied homes, compared with 60% of all Hispanic eligible voters nationwide. Somewhat greater shares of all eligible voters in Washington (69%) and all eligible voters nationwide (70%) live in owner-occupied homes.

Characteristics of Eligible Voters in Washington, by Race and Ethnicity

  • Number of Latino Eligible Voters. White eligible voters in Washington outnumber Hispanic eligible voters by a margin of more than 17 to 1. Asian eligible voters in Washington outnumber Hispanic eligible voters—228,000 versus 217,000.
  • Age. Latino eligible voters are younger than other major racial groups in Washington. One-third of Latino eligible voters in Washington (33%) are ages 18 to 29 compared with 26% of black eligible voters and 20% of Asian and white eligible voters.
  • Educational Attainment. Hispanic eligible voters have lower levels of education than do white and black eligible voters in Washington. Some 23% of Hispanic eligible voters have not obtained at least a high school diploma compared with 15% of black eligible voters and 8% of white eligible voters.
  • Homeownership. Hispanic eligible voters in Washington are less likely than white eligible voters, but more likely than black eligible voters, to live in owner-occupied homes—57% versus 71% and 42%, respectively.
  1. Eligible voters are defined as U.S. citizens ages 18 and older. Eligible voters are not the same as registered voters. To cast a vote, in all states except North Dakota, an eligible voter must first register to vote.
  2. The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are used interchangeably. References to “whites,” “blacks,” and “Asians” are to the non-Hispanic components of those populations.
  3. This statistical profile of eligible voters in Washington is based on the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of about 3 million addresses. The data used for this statistical profile come from 2008 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), representing a 1% sample of the U.S. population. Like any survey, estimates from the ACS are subject to sampling error and (potentially) measurement error. Information on the ACS sampling strategy and associated error is available at An example of measurement error is that citizenship rates for the foreign born are estimated to be overstated in the Decennial Census and other official surveys, such as the ACS (see Jeffrey Passel. “Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization,” Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2008)).

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