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Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1994 - Highlights

  • In the election of November 1994, 86 million persons reported that they had voted, representing 45 percent of the electorate 18 years and over. This turnout rate was unchanged from the previous mid-term election year in 1990.
  • Voter turnout for Whites 18 years and over was 47 percent, compared with 37 percent for Blacks and only 20 percent for persons of Hispanic origin. Asians voted at levels similar to Hispanics, recording a turnout rate of only 22 percent.
  • Historically, the Census Bureau has calculated voter rates on the basis of the total resident population, because estimates regarding citizenship status were not directly asked or consistently edited in prior surveys. Beginning with the 1994 survey, detailed questions on place of birth and citizenship status were asked as basic items on the survey.
  • Estimating turnout rates for the citizen population 18 years and over significantly increased voter turnout levels for Hispanics (34 percent) and doubled the rate for the Asian or Pacific Islander population to 39 percent. Overall, computing voter turnout rates for citizens only, instead of all residents, increased the level of voter turnout for the Nation as a whole from 45 to 48 percent.
  • The large increase in voter turnout previously noted for 18 to 24 year olds between the 1988 and 1992 Presidential elections was not evident between the 1990 and 1994 Congressional elections as only 1 out of every 5 young people reported voting in both elections.
  • There was no overall difference in voter turnout rates between men and women in the 1994 elections. Likewise, there was no difference in the turnout rates between men and women in the 45 to 64 year old age group (57 percent). However, women 18 to 44 years old reported slightly higher turnout rates than did men (36 percent versus 34 percent). But in 1994 as in previous Congressional elections, men 65 years old and over continued to report higher rates of voter turnout than women, 67 and 58 percent, respectively. This difference, however, was less than it was almost 30 years ago when in the 1966 election the gap was 14 percentage points in favor of men.
  • As in most surveys, persons tend to overreport their participation in the electoral process. Estimates provided by the Election Data Services indicate that 75 million persons voted in the November 1994 elections.

General User Notes

As in all surveys, the data in this release are subject to sampling variability and other sources of error, such as survey design flaws, respondent classification errors, and data processing mistakes. The Census Bureau has taken steps to minimize errors, and analytical statements have been tested and meet statistical standards. However, because of methodological differences, use caution when comparing these data with data from other sources.

All demographic surveys suffer from undercoverage of the population. This undercoverage results from missed housing units and missed persons within sample households. Compared to the level of the 1990 Decennial Census, overall CPS undercoverage is about 8 percent. Undercoverage varies with age, sex, and race. For some groups such as 20 to 29 year old Black males, the undercoverage is as high as 34 percent compared to the Census. The population controls that are used in this survey have been adjusted for undercount in the decennial census and partially correct for the bias due to undercoverage. However, the final impact of the weighting procedures used by the Census Bureau on the estimates is unknown. The estimates for data beginning in 1994 are based on population controls using results from the 1990 census brought forward to the survey date.

The information on the Hispanic population shown in this report was collected in the 50 states and the District of Columbia and does not include residents of Puerto Rico.

More detailed information on the design of this survey and problems associated with collecting voting statistics can be found in Current Population Reports, Series P20-466, "Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1992." Please consult this previous report for general information on the definitions and explanations used in this release.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Voting and Registration |  Last Revised: November 09, 2010