White voters will continue to decline through 2036, say researchers

people standing in front of American flag

people standing in front of American flag

By 2036 the share of white voters in both the Republican and Democratic parties will fall dramatically in Nevada, according to researchers from the Brookings Institute.

“Demographics are not destiny, but steady and predictable change to the electorate play an important role in defining the landscape of American politics,” write the authors of the study.

Political parties in 2016 “were more divided by age, race, and education than in any prior election in modern political history,” according to the study’s authors, referring to any point within the past 36 years.

Following those trends, researchers predict that white voters as a share of the Republican and Democratic parties will continue to decline through 2036. By 2032 Hispanic voters are expected to surpass black voters as the largest nonwhite voting group. By 2036, black voters are expected to make up a larger share of Democrats than white non-college voters.

In fast-growing states like Nevada, Arizona and Texas, which are already less white, the decline will be even quicker.

In the 2016 presidential election, Republicans had a far higher share of white voters than Democrats. In Nevada, 75 percent of registered Republicans were white compared to 56 percent of registered Democrats.

Researchers say if current trends continue, Nevada’s share of white voters within both parties will fall considerably. By 2036, it’s expected that 61 percent of registered Republicans will be white and 41 percent of registered Democrats will be white.

One large demographic difference among the parties is the share of white noncollege graduates.

In the 2016 election, 68 percent of the GOP’s white voters were noncollege graduates, compared to just 29 percent of white voters within the Democratic party. A similar pattern can be seen on a state-by-state basis but in less white and faster-growing states like Nevada, the share of noncollege graduates and college graduates is more equal. In Nevada, Republican voters in 2016 were 53 percent white noncollege graduates and 22 percent white college graduates.

Following the trends in fast-growing states, researchers believe the share of white noncollege voters will decline in both parties. Among Republican voters, these trends will mean that, by 2036, white college graduate and nonwhite voters will outnumber white noncollege graduate voters in many states⁠. In Nevada, the share could be 59 percent to 41 percent.

The researchers concluded: “Most of the effect of demographic change on future party coalitions is already baked in and will reshape party coalitions — in a sense, whether these parties like it or not.”

Jeniffer Solis
Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.

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