On February 9, New Hampshire voters will begin to winnow the field of presidential contenders. The New Hampshire primary is the first in the series of nationwide party primary elections (Iowa uses a caucus rather than a primary) and since 1952 it has been a major testing ground for candidates for both the Republican and Democratic nominations. Even though only a few delegates will be chosen in the New Hampshire primary, the massive media coverage it receives can make, break, or revive candidacies. One of the unique characteristics of the Granite State primary is that 60 percent of the voters who turn out in the two primaries have met at least one candidate.
Demographically, New Hampshire is very different than the rest of the nation. Its population is 1.5 percent African-American; the country is 13.2 percent African-American. People in New Hampshire are more educated and more likely to be homeowners than are residents of other states.
According to the most recent census data:
- Women make up more than half of the state’s population.
- 46.3% of New Hampshire’s women are unmarried.
- Unmarried women make up 23.6% of the eligible voters in New Hampshire.
- 61% of unmarried women are registered to vote.
A detailed demographic analysis done for the Voter Participation Center shows that unmarried women have a large and vital economic stake in the outcome of the presidential election:
- Unmarried women have the highest unemployment rate in the state – 6.5%.
- They earn substantially less than married women. Unmarried women in New Hampshire earn close to 62% (61.8%) of what a man earns; married women earn close to 90% (89.8%).
- Unmarried women are more than 7 times as likely to live in poverty (14.4 %) than married women (1.7%).
- About seven in ten of all minimum wage or below-minimum wage workers in New Hampshire are women.
Next up: South Carolina