NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Voter Demographics Changed In The 1990s

January 11, 2000

The U.S. looks somewhat different in the year 2000, compared to the way it was in 1990. Americans moved further west during the decade. The racial composition of the nation changed. And the make-up of households was altered, experts report.

  • Eight of the nation's 10 fastest growing states are situated west of the Mississippi River.
  • The Hispanic population grew by 35 percent -- while the white population increased only 6.8 percent.
  • The proportion of male-led and three-generation households rose during the past decade.
  • Male participation in the work force dropped -- just as female and black participation increased.

Researchers report that American voters tend to be less attached to political ideologies. They are relatively young, educated, affluent, computer-literate and stock-market savvy. Seven out of every 10 identify themselves as political independents.

These new voters are said to be pro-business, fiscally prudent, environmentally conscious, socially tolerant and interested in some modest government programs.

Some 34 percent of registered voters in New England states with partisan registration systems identify themselves as independents, as do 25 percent in Rocky Mountain states. Nationwide, independents make up an estimated 13 percent of registered voters.

Political analysts theorize that these changes are forcing the two major political parties to move toward the center -- thereby blurring their differences.

Source: Gerald F. Seib, "Money and Mobility Persuade More Voters to Blur Party Lines," Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2000.


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