New Research Memo Looks at Who in America Has Photo ID

By Michael Slater February 17, 2015

With voter ID a hot-button topic in state legislatures, Project Vote is pleased today to release a new research memo that provides a snapshot of who in America actually possesses government-issued photo ID.

Using data from the American National Election Studies 2012 (ANES) survey, senior public policy analyst Vanessa Perez, Ph.D. presents an overview of government-issued photo identification ownership, and how rates of ID possession may vary by socio-economic characteristics. Key findings show:

  • Rates of identification-ownership are highest among White individuals, while other ethnic groups disproportionately lack necessary photo ID. Only five percent of White Americans lack photographic identification, but 10 percent of Latinos and 13 percent of Blacks do not have photo ID.
  • Lower-income individuals are less likely to have photo ID. Twelve percent of adults living in a household with less than $25,000 annual income lack photo ID, compared to just 2 percent in households with over $150,000 annual income.
  • Young adults are less likely to have photo ID: 15 percent of 17-20 year-olds lack photo ID, and 11 percent of those aged 21-24 lack photo ID.

These patterns help to illustrate how strict voter ID laws may disproportionately impact some of the very same demographic groups—including racial minorities, low-income Americans, and young people—that are already underrepresented in the American electorate.

2 Responses to “New Research Memo Looks at Who in America Has Photo ID”

  1. Daphnia Cunningham says:

    Will you be raising funds to help poorer groups get ID for voting? Or do you know of local groups that are doing this?

    1. Erin Ferns Lee says:

      Thanks for asking! VoteRiders is one of our partners that does excellent work in helping citizens get the ID they need to vote. Here’s how you can help voters get ID: Also, browse their website and see how they are helping voters in states that require voter ID.

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