Hispanics in Houston underrepresented at the ballot box and in local offices

New report examining civic health issues in Greater Houston also finds naturalized citizens are less likely to discuss politics and register to vote

Just more than half of Hispanic voting-age citizens in the Houston metropolitan area are registered to vote, according to a new report on civic health from the Center for Local Elections in American Politics at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC). This number is far below the percentage of voting-age white and African-American citizens in the region who are registered; both of these groups have a voter registration rate of nearly 70 percent.

The 2018 Houston Civic Health Index, commissioned by Houston Endowment, examines the degree to which Greater Houston residents participate in political discussion, engage in nonpolitical civic behavior, volunteer and interact with one another. It also examines local residents’ activity with regard to voting and running for office. John Lappie, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Kinder Institute’s Center for Local Elections in American Politics (LEAP), authored the report.

“When a community is ‘civically healthy,’ its residents are better able to come together to address its problems, which leads to more-equitable outcomes,” said Ann Stern, president and CEO of Houston Endowment. “The report clearly shows us we have some work to do to improve our region’s civic health.”

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The report is available online at