The narrative surrounding the dramatic demographic shifts in the U.S. that The Next America covers starts with a dominant white, aging population that gives way to a young, diverse cohort.
The changes had been happening slowly but steadily. Then, between 2004, when George Bush was reelected, and 2008, when Barack Obama handily defeated Sen. John McCain for president, becoming the first African-American president in U.S. history, something happened. Traditionally red states started turning purple. Minority and youth voters came out in droves. Demographers and experts alike who had been predicting generational shifts between the gray and the brown for quite some time were getting more attention.
Now, using raw population data released by the Census Bureau, we've mapped these shifts of the voting-age population and the ensuing changes between non-Hispanic white shares and, well, everyone else.
While the older, graying cohort is still quite white, a new population of voting-age Americans is replacing it.
In 2004, the majority of the 18-plus populations by state were non-Hispanic whites. But between then and 2011 (the latest full set of data available from the Census Bureau), various states experienced huge shifts in their racial makeups.
Nevada, for example, saw white shares drop by almost 8 percent between 2004 and 2011 — nearly 1 percentage point per year. Florida, Maryland, California, and New Jersey round out the top five states with the largest drops in 18-and-over white populations.
In fact, virtually every state between 2004 and 2011 experienced some growth of people of color while non-Hispanic white populations shrank. The District of Columbia was the only exception, experiencing a nearly 5 percent increase in its white share.
Roll over a state to see the change in the white vote since 2004.
For deeper analysis, the map below breaks down the 18-plus racial data by state.
Use the filter to the right to toggle by year and click on individual states to see the breakdown by race and ethnicity.
(Note: The Census uses the abbreviation AIAN for American Indian and Alaska Native.)
The interactive graphic below shows three consecutive election cycles that also register the difference in voting composition. Population shifts and redistricting aside, Democrats had 20 states in 2004, 30 in 2008, and 27 in 2012; by Electoral College votes, the Democratic totals were 286, 365, and 332 (270 are needed to secure the presidency).
Toggle between the years to see which states changed colors between 2004, 2008, and 2012.
This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective.