Posted on December 18, 2020

Black Eligible Voters Have Accounted for Nearly Half of Georgia Electorate’s Growth Since 2000

Abby Budiman and Lois Noe-Bustamante, Pew Research Center, December 15, 2020

Black eligible voters in Georgia have played a significant role in driving the growth of the state’s electorate over the past two decades. Between 2000 and 2019, Georgia’s eligible voter population grew by 1.9 million, with nearly half of this increase attributed to growth in the state’s Black voting population, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new census data.


Biden won the state by a very narrow margin of just 0.2%, with about 12,000 votes more than Donald Trump. But it was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had won the state in nearly three decades.

In 2019, the Black voting population in Georgia reached a record high of 2.5 million eligible voters, making up a third of the state’s total electorate. As a share of eligible voters in the state overall, Black voters saw a 5 percentage point increase between 2000 and 2019. This was the highest growth rate of any racial or ethnic group in Georgia – and also the largest percentage point increase among Black voters in any state in the country.

The Hispanic and Asian American voting populations in Georgia have also grown significantly, more than tripling in size between 2000 and 2019. However, these groups accounted for much smaller shares of the state’s electorate, 5% and 3%, respectively. The number of White voters in the state also grew during this time, but at a lower rate than other major racial and ethnic groups. As a result, the White share of Georgia’s eligible voters declined by 11 points, though the group still accounted for the majority (58%) of Georgia’s electorate in 2019.


The growth of Black eligible voters in Georgia has been largely driven by migration into the state from other parts of the country, as well as from outside the United States. {snip}


{snip} In 2019, about 123,000 Black eligible voters in the state were born outside of the country, with most tracing their origins to nations in the Caribbean (60,000) and Africa (57,000). Among those born in the Caribbean, the top countries of origin were Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago, while Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia top the list among those who were born in Africa.

Meanwhile, naturalized citizens only make up 5% of Georgia’s overall Black electorate, but their numbers have grown more than fourfold over the past two decades, from 26,000 in 2000 to 123,000 in 2019. During this time, the country overall has also seen a substantial increase in its immigrant electorate.

Immigrant eligible voters in Georgia make up even larger shares of the Asian and Latino electorates than among the Black electorate. About three-in-four (74%) Asian eligible voters and one-in-four (26%) Latino eligible voters are naturalized citizens in the state.