WHAT DO WE KNOW?
Landscape Analysis summary
Today there are 1.1 million Latinos that call Colorado home. One out of five state residents is of Hispanic origin. Latinos account for 21% of the statewide population and 14% of the eligible electorate, which compares to 17% nationwide for Latinos and 10 percent of the eligible national electorate.
One out of four Coloradans will be Hispanic by the end of this decade, and published state estimates project 33% of the state’s population will be by Hispanic by the year 2040.
The vast majority of Colorado Hispanics (76%) are native born, which is higher than the national native-born percentage of 65% for Hispanics nationwide. While the raw number of Latinos – both native and foreign born – has steadily increased over the past 35 years in Colorado, the foreign born proportion of the Latino population has declined over the last fifteen years.
Interestingly, 47% of Latinos in Colorado indicate that they speak only English at home, significantly higher than the 27% nationally. However, it is important to note that the majority of Latinos in Colorado (53%) speak Spanish at varying levels of proficiency. The use of Spanish among this population is especially notable considering that 75% of the population is U.S. born. Of those who speak Spanish, 78% of them speak English “very well” or “well” and 23% speak English “not well” or “not at all”iii. Our polling data is consistent with these language trends reported by the Census bureau. While the majority of 2014 Hispanic voters in Colorado reported they rely mostly on English language media for election and political information, 8% indicated that they rely mostly on Spanish language outlets, and another 23% use both language platforms.
Only 57% of the eligible Hispanic electorate is actually registered, which means approximately 213,000 Hispanics are not incorporated in the Colorado electorate. Furthermore, over 55,000 Latinos who cast a ballot in 2012 did not participate in the 2014 election. Consequently, Latino turnout declined from 73% in 2012 to a much more modest 55% in 2014. The electoral impact associated with increasing voter registration and turnout among unengaged Latinos in Colorado is a huge opportunity that this project will help actualize.
For some context, millennial Latinos comprised 28% of Latino registered voters nationwide in 2014. However, among all Latinos that cast a ballot in Colorado in 2014, only 18% were millennials. Conversely, Latinos between 50-69 years old were 30% of the state’s Latino registered electorate, but they made up 40% of all Latino voters on Election Day.
Among registered voters, turnout follows expected patterns. Younger registered voters have the lowest turnout rates (27% among the youngest group of18-34 years), and older age cohorts vote at higher rates (77% among the oldest group of 70 years and older). While millennials make up the largest share of the registered Latino electorate, their turnout rates are especially low.