The following December 12 column by George J. Marlin appeared on The Catholic Thing.
The 2012 presidential returns confirm that the nation’s fastest growing voting bloc is Hispanic Catholics. This year 12.5 million Hispanics voted (80 percent baptized Catholics), an increase of 29 percent over the 2008 turnout, which continues a trend going back a quarter century and more.
And the number of Hispanic voters is expected to continue to grow at a rapid pace because their median age is 27 versus 42 years for white voters. The median age of native-born Hispanics is 18 years.
The Pew Research Center projects that, by 2030, 40 million Hispanics will be voting and “will account for 40 percent of the growth in the electorate.” The largest group will be Mexicans who right now are 36 percent of residents eligible for naturalization. Latin Americans and Caribbeans make up 24 percent of that growth pool, Asians 21 percent, and Europeans 12 percent.
This is not the first time there has been a huge influx of Catholic emigrants. In the pre-Civil War era, millions of Irish and German Catholics came to our shores, followed in the early twentieth century by millions of Eastern European and Italian Catholics.
These white Catholic immigrants settled and became important voting blocs in America’s northeastern cities and in the mid-Western industrial and farm states. Hispanic Catholics, however, are, for the most part, settling and affecting the political demographics in the West and Southwest – with exceptions in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, historically home to many Puerto Ricans.