By on 8.14.20 in Elections & Voting, NC in Focus

This is part of our series looking at NC’s registered voters. Other stories include an overview of NC’s voters and an in-depth look at NC’s Republican voters.

As of July 25th, 2020, North Carolina had 7 million registered voters. Of these, 2.5 million or 36% were registered as a Democrat.

Age

Older voters are the most likely to register as a Democrat, partly reflecting the legacy of the “Solid South.” Just over 43% of voters ages 75 and older are registered Democrats compared to 33% of 18-34 year-olds, 35% of 35-54 year-olds, and 39% of voters ages 55-74. As a result, older adults comprise a larger share of the state’s Democratic voters than the overall electorate.

Democratic voters older, on average, than NC electorate Age composition of North Carolina Democrats vs. all voters, 7/25/2020. Older voters are the most likely to register as a Democrat, partly reflecting the legacy of the “Solid South.” Just over 43% of voters ages 75 and older are registered Democrats compared to 33% of 18-34 year-olds, 35% of 35-54 year-olds, and 39% of voters ages 55-74. As a result, older adults comprise a larger share of the state’s Democratic voters than the overall electorate.

Reflecting this age structure, North Carolina’s registered Democrats have the highest proportion of voters registered in 1990 or earlier: 17.9% compared to 16.6% of Republicans and 6.4% of unaffiliated voters.

Race/ethnicity

Democratic voters are more diverse than the statewide electorate. Black voters comprise the largest racial/ethnic group among Democratic voters: 46% versus 21% statewide. White voters are the second largest group among registered Democrats (41% vs. 65% statewide).

Democratic voters more diverse than statewide electorate Racial/ethnic composition of NC Democrats vs. all voters, 7/25/2020. Democratic voters are more diverse than the statewide electorate. Black voters comprise the largest racial/ethnic group among Democratic voters: 46% versus 21% statewide. White voters are the second largest group among registered Democrats (41% vs. 65% statewide.)

Black voters are significantly more likely to register as a Democrat (79%) compared to other groups. Fifty percent of American Indian voters, 42% of Hispanic voters, 31% of Asian voters, and 23% of white voters are registered Democrat in North Carolina.

Place of birth

Carolina-born voters are more likely to be registered as a Democrat: 42% of South Carolina-born voters and 39% of North Carolina-born voters are registered as Democrats. Current NC voters born in the District of Columbia are the only group more likely to be registered Democrat (51%).

More than 1.1 million Democrat voters—45% of the state’s Democrat voter population—were born in North Carolina. New York (150K), other countries (91K), Virginia (68K), South Carolina (64K), and Pennsylvania (54K) were the next most common birth places. Eighteen percent of Democrat voters (444K) provided no information on place of birth.

Geography

Across North Carolina’s 100 counties, the county share of Democrat voters varies widely, reflecting county differences in composition by age, race/ethnicity, and place of birth. Reflecting the inverse of registration patterns for Republican voters, northeastern counties are most likely to register Democrat while many western counties are least likely to register Democrat. Two coastal Carolina counties—Currituck and Carteret—also have low shares of Democrat voters.

Democratic voters highly concentrated in Northeast NC Democratic share of registered voters for select counties, 7/25/2020. In four counties, more than two of every three registered voters is registered as a Democrat. Sixty-nine percent of registered voters in Hertford County are registered Democrat, the highest rate statewide. (Hertford also has the lowest share of Republican voters.) In contrast, Mitchell County has the lowest share of Democrat voters (10%) but the highest share of Republican voters.

In four counties, more than two of every three registered voters is registered as a Democrat. Sixty-nine percent of registered voters in Hertford County are registered Democrat, the highest rate statewide. (Hertford also has the lowest share of Republican voters.) In contrast, Mitchell County has the lowest share of Democrat voters (10%) but the highest share of Republican voters.

Note: analysis presented is of the 7/25/2020 voter registration file from NC’s State Board of Elections. Analysis is limited to individuals who are active, inactive, or temporary registered voters. Voters with reported birth age of 116 years or older were excluded from the age analysis. Voters with registration dates prior to 1930 were excluded from the registration date analysis.