This is part of our series looking at NC’s registered voters. Other stories include an in-depth look at NC’s Republican voters and an in-depth look at NC’s unaffiliated voters. This is an update of our story from October 2022.
As of September 23rd, 2023, North Carolina had 7.3 million registered voters. Of these, 2.4 million or 32.89% were registered as a Democrat.
Older voters are the most likely to register as a Democrat, partly reflecting the legacy of the “Solid South.” Just over 38% of voters ages 75 and older are registered Democrats compared to 30% of 18-34 year-olds, 32% of 35-54 year-olds, and 35% of voters ages 55-74. As a result, older adults comprise a larger share of the state’s Democratic voters than the overall electorate. The share of Democrats in each age group, however, has dwindled since the 2020 election by around 3-5%, reflecting the rise of unaffiliated voters.
Reflecting this age structure, North Carolina’s registered Democrats have the highest proportion of voters registered prior to 1990: 13.3% compared to 12.6% of Republicans and 5% of unaffiliated voters.
Democratic voters are more diverse than the statewide electorate. Black voters comprise the largest racial/ethnic group among Democratic voters: 46% versus 20% statewide. White voters are the second largest group among registered Democrats (40% vs. 64% statewide).
Black voters are significantly more likely to register as a Democrat (75%) compared to other groups. Forty-two percent of American Indian voters, 38% of Hispanic voters, 30% of Asian voters, and 20% of white voters are registered Democrat in North Carolina.
Current NC voters born in the District of Columbia (49%) are the group most likely to be registered Democrat, followed by South Carolina (39%), New York (36%), and North Carolina-born voters (36%).
More than 1 million Democrat voters—42% of the state’s Democrat voter population—were born in North Carolina. New York (145K), other countries (87K), Virginia (64K), South Carolina (57K), and Pennsylvania (52K) were the next most common birthplaces outside of North Carolina. Another nearly twenty percent (481K) of Democratic voters opted to not share their place of birth.
Fourteen percent of North Carolina Democrats were born in the Northeast, twelve percent hail from a southern state other than North Carolina, five percent from the Midwest, four percent from another country, and three percent from the West.
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.
Sixty-four percent of registered voters in Hertford County are registered Democrat, the highest rate statewide. (Hertford also has the second lowest share of Republican voters.) In contrast, Mitchell County has the lowest share of Democrat voters (9%) but the highest share of Republican voters.
Note: Analysis presented is of the 9/23/2023 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 a reported birth age of 116 years or older were excluded from the age analysis. Thus, those born before 1909 were excluded. Likewise, voters with registration dates prior to 1930 were excluded from the registration date analysis.
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