Latino Vote in Georgia Continues to Grow and Outpaces National Latino Voter Participation
Last week, GALEO.org released the report “2016: The Latino Electorate in Georgia Continues To Grow and To Vote”. Among several eye-opening statistics and a detailed executive summary, three specific items call attention to the particular nature and engagement of the Latinx/Hispanic community in Georgia and its importance in the future of the state.
a) The Latino electorate grew 25% from 2012 to 2016, with 60,224 new Latino voters.
All of the top ten Metro Atlanta counties experienced double digit growth rates between 2008 and 2016 elections with Forsyth County leading the way with 48.8% growth of Latino registered voters. Across the state, ten out of fourteen Congressional districts in Georgia had a higher Latino voter participation rate compared to the national Latino voter participation rate.
This statistic shows the continued grow of the Latino electorate. During 2011-2016, Georgia experienced the greatest surge of Latino voter registrations: 128,938 new Latino voters, making up 52.8% of the current Latino electorate. If the other most recent period (2001-2010) is also considered, the total would account for 91.9% of the current Latino electorate.
b) Latina voters outpaced Latinos in voter participation locally and at the national level.
While there are more Hispanic males registered to vote, Hispanic females dominated in voter participation with rates of 73.2% surpasing Hispanic male participation at 37.8% rate. Latina voters accounted for 59.8% of the Latino voters in the November 2016 election in Georgia.
Nationally, Latina voter participation rate is at 50%. For all women of all races nationally, the voter participation rate was 63%. Latinas in Georgia clearly out-performed their peers national and in the category of all women too.
c) The majority (53.3%) of the Latino electorate is under the age of 40 with only a small percentage of voters aged over 61 (11.5%). In fact the largest segment of the Latino registered voters is between 25-39 years of age.
Of importance, and included in detail in the report are the growth and relevance of Whitfield county with the highest share of Latino voters anywhere as compared with the overall county electorate, and Gwinnett County, accounting for over 10% of the countie’s electorate and electing in 2016 Brenda Lopez the first Latina to the state legislature. Gwinnett County alone accounted for 18% of the state’s Latino electorate.
Thank you to the efforts of GALEO, Gwinnett County was designated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be one of the Voting Rights Act Section 203 covered jurisdictions for Spanish language inclusion for all elections as of December 2016. The county was one of 263 covered jurisdictions across the country required to provide language assistance to targeted language minority populations. This made Gwinnett County the only jurisdiction at that time to be included in the Census determination list, which was based upon data from the Census Bureau’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey five-year estimates.
A significant challenge in the data collection noted in the report, is related to the self-identification of our community:
- A noticeable share of those registrants whom we identified as having a common Latino surname stated that they were “White,” “Black,” and in some cases “Asian”—49,649 total.
- 2000 Census figures demonstrate that in Georgia 50% of adult citizens who said they were Hispanic/Latino also identified as racially “White.” This means that a majority of Latinos eligible to register to vote consider themselves “White.”
You can listen to Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO diving in some details of the report in an interview by Rose Holmes at WABE here