From Tue Jul 25 17:19:30 2000
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 22:35:51 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michael Eisenscher <>
Subject: Census: African Americans Defy Trend of Plunging Voter Turnout
Article: 101178
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

After the release time, go to

African Americans Defy Trend of Plunging Voter Turnout, Census Bureau Reports

U.S. Census Bureau, release CB00-114, Wednesday 19 July 2000

U/S. Census Bureau
Public Information Office
301-457-3030/301-457-3670 (fax)
301-457-1037 (TDD)

Avalaura Gaither

African Americans were the only race or ethnic group to defy the trend of declining voter participation in congressional elections, increasing their presence at the polls from 37 percent in 1994 to 40 percent in 1998, according to a report released today by the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau.

Nationwide, overall turnout by the voting-age population was down from 45 percent in 1994 to 42 percent in 1998—about 3 million fewer voters in 1998 than in 1994.

The increase in voter participation by African Americans was most notable in the South, where the rate grew by 4 percentage points to 39 percent, said Avalaura Gaither, co-author of Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1998, P20-523. About 40 percent of the 9 million African American voters lived in the South.

Turnout by Whites declined from 50 percent to 47 percent from 1994 to 1998, while Asian and Pacific Islander turnout fell from 22 percent to 19 percent and Hispanic turnout remained at 20 percent. (The turnout rates for each of the latter two groups would increase by nearly 13 percentage points if estimated noncitizens were subtracted from the voting-age universe. Data by race in this release exclude people of Hispanic origin, who may be of any race.)

Turnout also declined across all age groups and for men and women. For example, 35 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds cast ballots in 1998, down from 39 percent in 1994.

Other highlights of the report:

Reasons for Not Voting

Voter Turnout

Voter Registration

The data were collected in the November 1998 Current Population Survey (CPS) two weeks after the election. As in all surveys, data are subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. The CPS routinely overestimates voter turnout. Possible reasons include understatement of the votes cast; overreporting by survey respondents who want to demonstrate their civic responsibility; misreporting of voting because of refusals or lack of knowledge on the part of proxy respondents; and survey undercoverage.