Home / Population and society / Articles / Super Tuesday states don’t have much in common, which is why they’re a good representation of the nation

The first four states to vote in the 2020 Democratic primary season comprise 4% of the US population. The 14 states voting on Super Tuesday, however, make up 40% of the nation's population.

Every four years, Super Tuesday has the potential to be a watershed moment in the primary season. People nationwide will vote and award delegates to the field of Democratic candidates, helping solidify a general election candidate for November. Some states rotate in and out every four years, but it’s clear that the 14 states voting this Tuesday are a demographic, economic, and electoral cross-section of America.

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The 14 states casting Democratic ballots on Super Tuesday are, in order of delegates up for grabs: California (415 delegates), Texas (228), North Carolina (110), Virginia (99), Massachusetts (91), Minnesota (75), Colorado (67), Tennessee (64), Alabama (52), Oklahoma (37), Arkansas (31), Utah (29), Maine (24), and Vermont (16). A Democratic nominee needs to 1,991 delegates to win the nomination.

The population of the Super Tuesday states

In the United States, 60.4% of the population is non-Hispanic white. However, the white population of the Super Tuesday states is 53.2% of the total people in the US. That’s because California and Texas, the nation's two most populous states, are voting on Super Tuesday. Among all states, California has the second-smallest share of white residents at 36.8%. Texas has the fourth-smallest at 41.5%.

Two Super Tuesday have the nation’s highest share of the white, non-Hispanic population: Vermont (92.5%) and Maine (93.1%).

Three Super Tuesday states have a higher percentage of foreign-born people than the national figure of 13.7%: California (26.9%, the largest share nationwide), Massachusetts (17.4%), and Texas (17.2%). Alabama has the smallest share of a foreign-born population (3.3%) of any Super Tuesday state.

Census data shows that 9.4% of Americans don't have health insurance coverage. Super Tuesday states reveal a gap in coverage: Massachusetts has the lowest share of uninsured people among all states, not just states voting on Tuesday. (2.8%). Texas has the highest share of uninsured people nationwide (17.4%).

The economic landscape of the Super Tuesday states

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 155.8 million employed people in 2018. Super Tuesday states represent 37% of these workers.

Employment shifts in Super Tuesday states

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Six Super Tuesday states have a median wage higher than the national median of $38,640: Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, Colorado, Virginia, and Vermont. Massachusetts led all 50 states with $48,680—though that's below Washington, DC's median wage of $71,690.

On the other end of the Super Tuesday wage scale, Arkansas' median wage was $31,850, the second-lowest in the US.

Collectively, these 14 states contributed $8.4 trillion, or 41% to the national gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The 14 Super Tuesday states are an electoral cross-section of America

In the 2016 general election, half of this year's Super Tuesday states voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The other half voted for Republican Donald Trump.

In the 2016 Democratic primaries, eight of these states opted for eventual nominee Hillary Clinton. The six others voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The 14 states voting on March 3 differ widely, but they represent two-fifths of the nation's population. This year's presidential primary season centers around the Democratic race, but learning about the differences between each state can provide an understanding about why its citizens may have voted a particular way.

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Occupational Employment Statistics and Current Population Survey
Federal Elections 2016

In addition to 14 states, Super Tuesday will feature two other Democratic races: the American Samoa Democratic caucuses and the Democrats Abroad primary.