Voter Participation & Characteristics Patterns
December 2019 update .. much of this section relates to the 2014 elections. The November 2018 election is widely recognized for its high voter turnout. There was a historic 11 percentage point increase from the midterm election in 2014. Voter turnout went up among all voting age and major racial and ethnic groups. Fifty-three percent of the citizen voting-age population voted in 2018, the highest midterm turnout in four decades, while the 2014 election had the lowest.
Voter participation continues to decline in the U.S. In 2014, the overall voting rate was the lowest for a congressional election since the Current Population Survey (CPS) first asked about voting and citizenship status in 1978. Voting rates were highest for the Americans 65 years and older, non-Hispanic Whites, individuals with high levels of education, and those with relatively high incomes.
This section provides an overview of the underlying data used in the ProximityOne Voter Participation Model. These data and tools are used to estimate/project voter turnout under alternative scenarios for states, congressional districts, state legislative districts, counties, cities and other election areas and to analyze voter participation. These resources are applied to facilitate voter mobilization, increase voter turnout and assess potential election impact.
Use the interactive ranking table in this section to view, rank, compare voting characteristics of the population by state. This section knits together with these related sections:
State Legislative Districts
Citizen Voting Age Population Demographics - tract & block group
Citizen Voting Age Population Demographics - states & county
Voting District Geography & Demographics - election precincts
Voter Mobilization Resources & Methods
Visual Analysis of Voting Patterns
The graphic below shows patterns of the population voting in 2014 elections as a percent of registered citizen voters. Click graphic for larger view with illustrative profile showing items included in the interactive table below.
- view developed with ProximityOne CV XE GIS and related GIS project.
Characteristics of U.S. Citizens by Voting Status: 2014 -- scroll section
National scope voting attributes are used at the election area level in the modeling applications.
Voting Patterns by State & U.S. 2014
Based on November 2014 Current Population Survey.
Use mouseover on column header to view column description.
See usage notes below the table. See related interactive tables -- http://proximityone.com/rankingtables.htm.
All items are estimates for 2014 and are subject to errors of estimation and other errors.
Population values are in thousands.
2 Total Voting Age Population
3 Total Citizen Voting Age Population
4 Registered Voter Population
5 %Registered Population -- percent 4/2
6 %Registered Citizen Population -- percent 5/2
7 Total Voting in November 2014 election
8 %Voting -- of Voting Age Population -- percent 7/2
9 %Voting -- of Citizen Voting Age Population -- percent 7/2
Current Population Survey; Voting and Registration Supplement
The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of households conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPS provides comprehensive data on the labor force, employment, unemployment, persons not in the labor force and related demographic.
The Voting and Registration Supplement to the November CPS covers a population universe comprised of the civilian noninstitutionalized population living in the U.S. The excluded institutionalized population is composed primarily of individuals in correctional institutions and nursing homes.
The November CPS supplement includes questions on voting and registration participation, Those data provide the basis for estimates used in this section. The first question in the 2014 supplement asked if respondents voted in the election held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. If respondents did not respond to the question or answered "No" or "Do Not Know," they were then asked if they were registered to vote in the election.
Some voting is not captured in the CPS. The CPS covers only the civilian noninstitutionalized population residing in the U.St. It does not capture voting for citizens residing in the U.S. who were in the military or living in institutions. The CPS also does not capture voting for citizens residing outside the U.S. (civilian and military) who cast absentee ballots.
Terms & Concepts
Voting rates. Voting rates represent the number of voters relative to a given population or subpopulation. As used here, overall voting rates are calculated by dividing the total number of reported voters by the total number of eligible voters (i.e., citizens who are at least 18 years old).
Voting population. The voting population is the estimated number of people who reported voting. As used here, this population is also referred to as "the electorate."
Voting-age citizens. In the U.S., only native-born or naturalized citizens can vote legally in elections. Although the number of voters in any given year is not affected by accounting for citizenship, removing noncitizens from the population base results in higher turnout rates than when the voting-age population is used. For example, in 2014, 92.3 million Americans reported voting. When the voting-age population is used (239.9 million people), the voting rate is 38.5 percent, but when voting-age citizens serve as the population base (219.9 million people), the voting rate increases to 41.9 percent.
Voting-age population. Since 1972, every state has required that voters be at least 18 years of age in order to vote. The voting-age population has been a common population base used for calculating voting statistics. The voting-age population does not account for citizenship status.
Registered voter population. With exception of North Dakota, every state requires eligible voters to formally register before casting a ballot. In terms of methods and deadlines, registration procedures vary greatly from state to state. Anyone who is registered voter must be a citizen and at least 18 years old.
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ProximityOne develops geographic-demographic-economic data and analytical tools and helps organizations knit together and use diverse data in a decision-making and analytical framework. We develop custom demographic/economic estimates and projections, develop geographic and geocoded address files, and assist with impact and geospatial analyses. Wide-ranging organizations use our software, data and methodologies to analyze their own data integrated with other data. Follow ProximityOne on Twitter at www.twitter.com/proximityone. Contact ProximityOne (888-364-7656) with questions about data covered in this section or to discuss custom estimates, projections or analyses for your areas of interest.