Race, Ethnicity, the Political Incorporation of Black Immigrants: an Examination of Evidence from Presidential Elections Won by Barack Obama

  • Kevin J.A. ThomasEmail author
  • Rebbeca Tesfai


This study uses data from the Voter Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS) to examine the implications of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections for the political incorporation of Black immigrants. Our results show that these elections were associated with larger increases in turnout among Black immigrants compared to Asian, Hispanic, and White immigrants. In the first and third-plus generations, we find a reversal in the Black-White disparity in voting patterns between the 2004 presidential election won by George Bush and the subsequent elections won by Barack Obama. Our analysis further provides a nuanced picture of the historical overall increases in Black turnout observed during the election of Barack Obama. In other words, we show that these increases were mostly driven by higher turnout among third-plus generation, US-born Blacks and first-generation African immigrants. While increases in turnout were observed among second-generation Africans and first and second-generation immigrants from the Caribbean, our results indicate that they were not statistically significant. Overall, our findings imply that the election of America’s first Black president was associated with notable increases in political participation among Black immigrants, but that these increases varied across Black immigrant groups.


Immigrants Race Assimilation Voting Black Africa 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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