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Key Facts to Know About Communities of Color in North Carolina Before the 2014 Midterm Elections
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Key Facts to Know About Communities of Color in North Carolina Before the 2014 Midterm Elections

This fact sheet highlights the economic and electoral impact of communities of color as they become a growing share of the population in North Carolina.

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Voters stand in line before sunrise to cast their votes in Apex, North Carolina, on Election Day 2012. (AP/Gerry Broome)
Voters stand in line before sunrise to cast their votes in Apex, North Carolina, on Election Day 2012. (AP/Gerry Broome)

Driven by the state’s African American and Latino population, communities of color are a large and important segment of the North Carolina electorate. The impact of these communities is felt not only through their population growth but also through their economic contributions and electoral clout. As the 2014 midterm election approaches, there are several facts to keep in mind regarding these growing and dynamic communities in North Carolina:

  • In North Carolina, a large share of the population consists of people of color. As of 2013, black North Carolinians made up 22 percent of the state’s population. Latinos made up approximately 8.9 percent, while Asians represented 2.6 percent of the population. Non-Hispanic whites made up approximately 64.4 percent of the population. According to the Immigration Policy Center, around 7 percent of North Carolina’s population were immigrants, with approximately 33 percent of the immigrant population eligible to vote.
  • People of color represent a large portion of the North Carolina electorate. Black voters have significant political clout, making up 22.3 percent of the state’s eligible voters. While Asian Americans and Latino voters make up a smaller share of eligible voters at approximately 0.8 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, those communities will see their shares of the electorate increase as demographics continue to shift.
  • A significant share of people of color in North Carolina is below the age of 18. According to the Census Bureau, fully 38.7percent of North Carolina’s Latino population is under the age of 18, while the same age group only makes up 20.4 percent of the state’s white population. Among North Carolina’s African Americans and Asian Americans, 25.3 percent and 25 percent of their respective populations are under the age of 18. People of color’s share of the electorate has the potential to grow as these younger populations reach voting age.
  • Communities of color in North Carolina are integral to the state’s economy. As of 2011, 10 percent of the state’s workers were immigrants. Furthermore, as of 2010, 5.4 percent of the state’s workers were undocumented immigrants. Undocumented workers in North Carolina contribute about $14.5 billion in economic activity that would disappear if they were deported. Latino and Asians command approximately $22.9 billion in buying power combined, while blacks commanded more than $50 billion in buying power. Moreover, according to 2007 Census figures, 10.5 percent of businesses in North Carolina are black-owned, 2.5 percent are Asian-owned, and 2.7 percent are owned by Latinos.
  • In North Carolina, a key issue for the electorate is increasing the minimum wage. Recent polling shows that 58 percent of voters in North Carolina support a minimum-wage increase to $10.10 per hour, compared with only 36 percent opposed. This issue is especially important to people of color, who represented 42 percent of minimum-wage workers nationally despite making up only 32 percent of the workforce. Since 2009, 6 out of 10 new jobs created in North Carolina have been in low-wage industries.

Jamal Hagler is the Special Assistant for Progress 2050.

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Jamal Hagler

Research Assistant

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