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Latinos in the 2012 Election: Virginia

This profile provides key demographic information on Latino eligible voters1 and other major groups of eligible voters in Virginia.2 All demographic data are based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey.3

Hispanics in Virginia’s Eligible Voter Population

  • The Hispanic population in Virginia is the 16th largest in the nation.4 About 630,000 Hispanics reside in Virginia, 1.2% of all Hispanics in the United States.
  • Virginia’s population is 8% Hispanic, which ranks 28th nationally in Hispanic population share.
  • There are 214,000 Hispanic eligible voters in Virginia—the 16th largest Hispanic eligible voter population nationally. California ranks first with 5.9 million.
  • Some 4% of Virginia eligible voters are Hispanic, ranking the state 26th in Hispanic eligible voter share nationally. New Mexico ranks first with 39%.
  • About one-third (34%) of Hispanics in Virginia are eligible to vote, ranking Virginia 36th nationwide in the share of the Hispanic population that is eligible to vote. By contrast, more than three-quarters (78%) of the state’s white population is eligible to vote.

Characteristics of Eligible Voters

  • Age. More than one-in-three Hispanic eligible voters in Virginia (34%) are ages 18 to 29, just above the share of all Latino eligible voters nationwide (33%) in that age range. By contrast, only 22% of all Virginia eligible voters and those nationwide are ages 18 to 29.
  • Citizenship and Nativity. Among Hispanic eligible voters in Virginia, 33% are naturalized U.S. citizens, more than Hispanic eligible voters nationwide (25%). Only 7% of all eligible voters in Virginia are naturalized citizens, as are 8% of all U.S. eligible voters.
  • Hispanic Origin. Hispanic eligible voters in Virginia have a different Hispanic origin profile from Hispanic eligible voters nationwide. About one-in-four (26%) are of Mexican origin. More than two-in-ten (21%) are Puerto Rican, 13% are Salvadoran, and 40% are of another Hispanic origin. By contrast, Hispanic eligible voters nationwide are 59% Mexican, 14% Puerto Rican, 2% Salvadoran, and 24% of another Hispanic origin.
  • Educational Attainment. Fully 17% of Hispanic eligible voters in Virginia have not completed high school, more than the 12% of all Virginia eligible voters who have not completed high school.
  • Homeownership. Fully 60% of Hispanic eligible voters in Virginia live in owner-occupied homes, just above the share of all Hispanic eligible voters nationwide (58%). Greater shares of all eligible voters in Virginia (70%) and all eligible voters nationwide (69%) live in owner-occupied homes.

Characteristics of Eligible Voters in Virginia, by Race and Ethnicity

  • Number of Eligible Voters. White eligible voters outnumber Hispanic eligible voters in Virginia by a margin of 19 to 1. Hispanic eligible voters are outnumbered by black eligible voters by about 5 to 1, but Hispanics are about the same size as Asians among eligible voters.
  • Age. Latino eligible voters are younger than black, Asian and white eligible voters in Virginia. Some 34% of Latinos are ages 18 to 29, compared with 25% of black eligible voters, 22% of Asian eligible voters and 20% of white eligible voters.
  • Educational Attainment. Hispanic eligible voters have lower levels of education than do white and Asian eligible voters in Virginia, but higher levels than black eligible voters. Some 17% of Hispanic eligible voters have not obtained a high school diploma, compared with 19% of black eligible voters, 10% of white eligible voters and 9% of Asian eligible voters.
  • Homeownership. Hispanic eligible voters (60%) are more likely to live in owner-occupied homes than black (52%) eligible voters in Virginia, but they are less likely to do so than Asian (80%) or white (75%) eligible voters in Virginia.
  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 other races and ethnicities are to the non-Hispanic components of those populations.
  3. This statistical profile of eligible voters is based on the Census Bureau’s 2010 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 the 2010 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. More information is available on ACS sampling strategy and associated error.
  4. Rankings for “Percent of Hispanic population eligible to vote” are based on the District of Columbia and the 46 states whose Hispanic samples in the 2010 ACS are large enough to generate reliable estimates. All other rankings are based on the District of Columbia and the 50 states.

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