So I was wondering, just how white are the U.S. presidential primaries? A little more precisely, what is the racial composition of the states that hold early presidential primary contests, and how does it compare to the racial composition of the U.S. as a whole? Here’s what the U.S. looks like, according to the official census.
|Black or African American alone||13.2%|
|American Indian and Alaska Native alone,||1.2%|
|Asian alone, percent||5.4%|
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone||0.2%|
|Two or More Races||2.5%|
|Hispanic or Latino||17.4%|
|White alone, not Hispanic or Latino||62.1%|
In contrast, Iowa is 92.1% white alone, with 5.1% being white but Hispanic/Latino. Hence, Iowa is 40% (87.1%/62.1%) whiter than the U.S. as a whole. Iowa is only 26% (3.4%/13.2%) as black and 34% (5.6%/17.4%) as Hispanic/Latino as the rest of the U.S. Asian Iowans are a mere 2.2% of the state’s population, and mixed race Iowans are only 1.7% of it. (I’m ignoring some other racial groups here but only because there’s a limit to how much I can type out in my spare time.)
It gets worse. New Hampshire is 94% white alone, with less than 3% being white but Hispanic/Latino. New Hampshire is 47% (91.3%/62.1%) whiter than the U.S. as a whole. It is a mind-blowing 14% as black (1/5%/13.2%) and 19% (3.3%/17.4%) as Hispanic/Latino as the rest of the U.S. Asians make up a mere 2.5% of the population in New Hampshire, less than half the percentage of the U.S. population as a whole. And those who identify as mixed race are only 1.6% of the population of New Hampshire.
Is it disturbing that the first two primary states are so unrepresentative of people of color? Yes, if the following two conditions are met:
- These primaries have a significant effect on the outcome of the electoral process.
- This effect disadvantages people of color.
I’ll address these conditions in my next post on this topic.