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Regional Shifts in America's Voting-Aged Population: What Do They Mean for National Politics?

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionFrey, William H. 2000. "Regional Shifts in America's Voting-Aged Population: What Do They Mean for National Politics?" PSC Research Report No. 00-459. October 2000.

The results of the November 2000 election, and those of several to come, will be shaped by sharp region-based shifts in America's voting-aged population, which can be tracked from 1990. These shifts involve the continued concentration of new immigrant minorities-Hispanics and Asians-into selected "melting pot states"; shifts of white middle-class suburbanites away from large coastal metropolises to fast-growing parts of the "New Sun Belt"; the return of African Americans to the South; and the non-migration of some of the most sought-after "swing" groups of voters that both major presidential candidates are vying for.

These trends are beginning to cement distinct regional differences in the demographic profiles of the country's voting-aged population. Although the new migration patterns would appear to exert a bigger impact on fast-growing migrant destination states, they also affect stagnating origin states by increasing the political clout of the groups left behind. In fact, three highly-prized constituencies in the 2000 presidential election-white working wives, white "forgotten majority" men, and white seniors-make up a disproportionate share of the residual populations in slow-growing interior states which form the "battleground" for this election.

Dataset(s): 1990 US Decennial Census. US Census Bureau projections for November 2000 state voting-aged populations. US census Current Population Survey data for years 1990 through 1999.

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