The Census Bureau says the United States voting-age population will total 189 million by Election Day, Nov. 3, an increase of 3.4 percent or 6.3 million potential voters over the 1988 presidential election.

Of the nation's voting-age population, there are nearly 8 million more women than men.

Racially, the Census Bureau found in a report released Feb. 18, that there will be 160,286,000 whites of voting age in November, 21,519,000 blacks, and 7,239,000 voting- age people of other races.

The number of voting-age blacks has jumped slightly more than 1 million since the last presidential election in 1988, a 5.3 percent increase. But the number of eligible voters of other races has jumped by 1.6 million people, a sharp 29.1 percent increase. The number of whites of voting age has grown just 2.4 percent.

If all age-eligible voters turned out at the polls, the elderly would find their influence increased, according to the census figures. Of the population old enough to vote, those over 65 number 32,352,000 people, about 17.1 percent of the electorate, an increase from 30.5 million in 1988.

The number of the youngest potential voters - those between 18 and 24 - has dropped and now make up just 14 percent of the electorate.

The biggest segment of the voting-age population is made up of people between the ages of 25 and 44, who comprise 43.2 percent of the electorate.

But being old enough to vote doesn't guarantee the right will be exercised. In a separate report issued earlier, the Census Bureau stated that in the 1990 congressional elections, just 45 percent of the persons 18 years old and over said they voted, down 1 percent from four years earlier.

In fact the the 1988 presidential election saw the lowest turnout since 1924.

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