How 2016 Vote Choice Broke Down By Rural Status and Age Among Different Races

Region proved one of the biggest divides in the 2016 election, a notion evident when simply looking at a county election results maps or through polling data. As more data emerges concerning voting behavior in this past election, most recently with the 2016 CCES, I wanted to illustrate some aspects of this relationship between region and vote choice (for now, just through subgroup frequencies).

While there was no “region” variable in the CCES–for urban or rural designation–the survey did contain county FIPS codes for respondents. Using that variable, I was able to match Census data on the number of people living in a rural or urban area within each county. Specifically, I could attach a “percent rural” figure on each county to the counties of survey respondents in the CCES. In this way I could arrive at the area in which they live. While the Census considers a county rural if 50 percent or more of its inhabitants live in a rural area, I do not use this classification because it leaves very few rural inhabitants for the two minority subgroup analyses below. Instead, for each group, I construct rural status quartiles, based on whether respondents fall within the first, second, third, or fourth quartile on the range of rural percentage of a county within each subgroup.

I’ll highlight some interesting points as bullet points below each graph.


  • Among whites, there’s a clear relationship between rural area of living and vote choice; Trump vote increases as you progress into more rural areas
  • Breaking this phenomenon up by age doesn’t add much–the rural status and vote association remains relatively the same across each age group
  • I’ve shown before that white youth went third party more than any other group; here, white youth in the most rural areas seem slightly more inclined to vote third party (“Other”) than white youth in the least rural areas


  • Because of sample size considerations, I use two rather than five age groups for Hispanics; however, the rural status and vote relationship generally holds within this racial group too, as Hispanics in more rural areas report voting Trump more
  • However, the positive relationship between rural status and Trump vote does not gradually grow as much as with respondents age 45+ as it does with 18-44 year olds


  • Among blacks, voting for Trump doesn’t appear related to rural status
  • The interesting aspect here is what’s occurring with blacks living in the least rural quartile, particularly with the youngest age bracket: the most urban black youth voted for Clinton at a lower rate than 15 of these other 19 subgroups (the differences are statistically significant at p<0.05)
How 2016 Vote Choice Broke Down By Rural Status and Age Among Different Races

One thought on “How 2016 Vote Choice Broke Down By Rural Status and Age Among Different Races

  1. […] Additionally, unlike among Asians and Latinos, income does not prove a consistently strong negative correlate of Democratic partisanship among blacks. Specifically, the income variable loses its significance and half of its effect size going from Models 1/2 to 3/4. The other aspect of socioeconomic status in education, however, does prove a strong and significant negative predictor of Democratic attachment: blacks in the highest educational bracket are between 12 to 16 points more attached to the Republican Party than are blacks in the lowest educational group. Age also shapes black partisanship, as going from the youngest to oldest age group increases Democratic identification by 12 to 16 percentage points (this pattern evokes a similar age-based one found in 2016 voting behavior). […]


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