Voter Turnout


A record 137.5 million Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Overall voter turnout – defined as the share of adult U.S. citizens who cast ballots – was 61.4% in 2016, a share similar to 2012 but below the 63.6% who say they voted in 2008. A number of long-standing trends in presidential elections either reversed or stalled in 2016, as black voter turnout decreased, white turnout increased and the nonwhite share of the U.S. electorate remained flat since the 2012 election. The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012. The seven percentage-point decline from the previous presidential election is the largest on record for Blacks. It is also the largest percentage-point decline among any racial or ethnic group since white voter turnout dropped from 70.2% in 1992 to 60.7% in 1996. The number of black voters also declined, falling by about 765,000 to 16.4 million in 2016, representing a sharp reversal from 2012.