Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 05/2015

States of change: The demographic evolution of the American electorate, 1974–2060

Karlyn Bowman

February 2015

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research


The States of Change: Demographics and Democracy project is a collaboration supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that brings together the Center for American Progress, the American Enterprise Institute, and demographer William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution. The project’s goals are: To document and analyze the challenges to democracy posed by the rapid demographic evolution from the 1970s to 2060 To project the race-ethnic composition of every state to 2060, which has not been done for 20 years To promote a wide-ranging and bipartisan discussion of America’s demographic future and what it portends for the nation’s political parties and policy This report presents the first tranche of findings from this project—including detailed analyses on the nation as a whole and on every state—which we hope will both inform and provoke discussion. We outline 10 broad trends from our findings that together suggest the scale of the transformation our country is living through and the scope of the challenges it will face in the future. These changes admit to a wide variety of interpretations, and as with any report as extensive as this one, it should not be surprising that there are some differences in interpretation among the participating institutions. We believe, however, that differing interpretations are to be welcomed and that they will be useful in stimulating discussion both within and outside our project on the implications of demographic change.