Report: Hispanic Eligible Voters Will Likely Mushroom to 40 Million

Cristina Aguilar, center, walking with her husband, Javier Aguilar, granddaughter Enny Valle, far left, and Enny's husband Josh Valle as their grandson Alessandro Diaz, 2, leads them to a ride at a pumpkin patch amusement park, in Las Vegas. Latinos eligible voters in Nevada and other states are projected to spike in one generation. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)National Journal

In just one generation the number of Latino eligible voters will grow to 40 million, double today's current number and greatly increasing the political clout of the nation's largest minority.

Latinos will account for 40 percent growth among overall eligible voters between now and 2030, bringing the total number of eligible Latino voters to 40 million, up from 23.7 million today, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

At 11 percent, the Latino electorate is nowhere proportional to its population because Latinos are younger and have relatively low civic and naturalization engagement. "To borrow a boxing metaphor, they still "˜punch below their weight,' " the report's authors wrote.

Driving the number of new eligible Latino voters will be those born in the U.S. who will age into the electorate, the report indicated. Each year, some 800,000 U.S.-born Latinos turn 18. By 2030, this number could grow to 1 million per year, the researchers calculated.

Pew's study echoes an earlier analysis by the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute that shows much of the growth, also driven by Latinos who are U.S. citizens aging into the electorate, will be in the Southwest and states with growing minority populations such as Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, and New York.

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The Pew report used Census Bureau data, Election Day exit polls, and a new nationwide survey of Hispanic immigrants.

Highlights of the report:

  • 11.2 million — Eligible Latinos voters who don't cast a ballot.
  • 5.4 million — Legal permanent residents, meaning they have a green card or other documentation but are not yet eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
  • 7.1 million — Undocumented immigrants who likely would be eligible to vote if Congress passes immigration reform that creates a path to U.S. citizenship.
  • 16 million — U.S.-born Latino children who will age into the electorate by 2030.