News Release

New Research Shows Latinas Are a Leading Force Behind Growth of Latino Voter Participation

October 31, 2018

ORLANDO, FLA.—Today, UnidosUS joined the California Civic Engagement Project to release findings from a research brief on Latina voters and their potential impact in the upcoming midterm elections. The brief is the third in a series of research briefs authored by Dr. Mindy Romero, Director of the CCEP at the University of Southern California. The previous briefs explored potential Latino electoral influence in districts where competitive races and high Latino eligible turnout coincided.

The third installment released this morning during a telephonic for reporters, demonstrates that growing Latino electoral influence is in fact driven by Latinas. In recent decades, U.S. women have cast ballots in higher numbers than men and this gender gap is even greater among Latinos—5 percent more Latinos than Latinos turned out to vote last election cycle.

In the top 25 key races in 2016, Latina rates of participation vs. those of their male counterparts were even higher—ranging from 10 percentage points to 16 percentage points higher. The research also demonstrates the same gender gap exists in voter registration rates among the Latino population eligible to vote—Latinas register at higher numbers. For example, in 2016, 59.8 percent of Latinas eligible to register did, compared to 54.6 percent of Latino men.

“Women are driving the growth in electoral participation and that’s even more true when we look at the registration and turnout rates of Latina women versus their male counterparts. There’s no doubt they will be a significant factor in deciding control of the House in 2018 and the White House in 2020,” said Mindy Romero, Director, California Civic Engagement Project.

While demographic growth and increased participation numbers bode well for Latinos, they are still lagging behind their White counterparts in turnout.

“Significant investment in voter outreach and mobilization remain critical—both for Latinas and Latinos. Candidates and parties would do well to develop sustained and targeted outreach beyond the election cycle if they want to want to gain the support of this growing and increasingly influential electorate,” said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Deputy Vice President, UnidosUS.

Data utilized for the brief includes U.S. Census Current Population Survey and 2016 voter registration records.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.