New Hampshire may move its primary to December from January to get ahead of other states. As the presidential election seasons begins to go into high gear, commentators once again note how unrepresentative the early states are, especially New Hampshire and Iowa.
Because New Hampshire has an open primary—allowing people from all party affiliations to vote—the demographics of the state more closely represent the demographics of potential voters. Various commentators have speculated on how the demographics might influence the outcome of the primary.
Social Explorer took a look at 2010 census data to see just how the granite state compares with the rest of the US.
With 1,316,470 residents, New Hampshire represents 0.43 percent of the entire US population. By comparison, California represents 12.07 percent of the country. It would take more than 28 New Hampshires to equal California in population.
New Hampshire residents are a few years older than most of the country, with a median age of 41.1 years (higher than the national median of 37.1 years).
New Hampshire’s population is whiter than the rest of the nation—93.9 percent white versus 72.4 percent white. The state also has many fewer black and Hispanic residents—1.1 percent black compared to 12.6 percent nationwide, and 2.8 percent Hispanic compared to 16.4 percent.
Of course the primary would be a boon to New Hampshire’s hotel and hospitality industry. According to the 2010 American Community Survey, the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services sector employs 55,368 New Hampshire residents (8.1 percent of the employed population).
Social Explorer’s 2010 American Community Survey data helps us learn more about the state’s population. Educational attainment in New Hampshire is higher than the rest of the nation, with fewer residents not having high school degrees (8.5 percent compared to 14.4 percent), and more people with bachelors and masters degrees. Also, the high school drop out rate is lower in New Hampshire than the rest of the US—3.1 percent compared to 5.6 percent.
Unemployment is higher nationwide (10.8 percent) than in New Hampshire (7.8 percent), but New Hampshire may have experienced a bigger drop, more than doubling the unemployment between 2000 and 2010 (3.8 percent to 7.8 percent, while the nationwide rate increased from 5.8 percent to 10.8 percent).
Economically, the state is better off than the rest of the nation. Median income is 22 percent higher in New Hampshire than nationwide ($61,042 compared to $50,046). And, because New Hampshire has no income tax, residents get to keep more of their pay. Also, the poverty rate in New Hampshire is less than half the rate nationwide (5.3 percent compared to 11.3 percent).
Looking at health coverage, nationwide 15.5 percent of residents do not have any kind of health coverage, while 11.1 percent of New Hampshire residents lack coverage.
Religion has already been a hot topic in the presidential race, and Social Explorer’s data from the Association of Religion Data Archives (2009) lets users explore more dimensions of demography not available from the Census Bureau.
One in four New Hampshire residents belongs to a congregation, which is less than the nationwide rate of one in three. Comparing religious groups around the country, the US has more Evangelical and Mainline Protestants than New Hampshire, while New Hampshire has more Roman Catholics than the US.
As for much-discussed Mormons, New Hampshire has 15 of the nation’s 6,632 Mormon congregations. Though Mormonism is more prevalent nationwide than in New Hampshire, less than 1 percent of the US population belongs to a Mormon congregation. (Meanwhile, in Utah 14.3 percent of the population belongs to a Mormon congregation.)
Overall, the data show that New Hampshire is (to varying degrees) older, whiter, more affluent, better educated, more likely to have health coverage and less religious than the rest of the country. We will find out the impact of these demographics on the presidential election as early as December.