The votes are still being counted in the US presidential election, but the results already show that some substantial shifts have taken place within the electorate since 2016.
To get a sense of how the American voters have changed, observe Starr County, Texas, and Jackson County, Missouri—the two counties that have swung the most, so far, compared with the election four years ago. That calculation is based on the roughly 2,100 counties in which all precincts have reported and where there are more votes in 2020 than there were in 2016 as of 6pm US eastern time on Nov. 4. (This is meant to ensure the analysis only scoops up counties where the vast majority of votes have been counted.)
Starr County, located in South Texas and sharing a border with Mexico, is poised to account for the biggest swing of any county this century. Democrats led by Joe Biden lost a larger percentage of voters there than in any other county. The county has a population of about 64,000 people, according to Census Bureau estimates in 2019, 96% of whom identified as Hispanic or Latino. Democrats’ share of the vote in Starr County, where about 10% of the people have at least a bachelor’s degree, dropped by 28 percentage points between 2016 and 2020.
At the other end of the spectrum, Democrats saw a 17 percentage point increase in their share of the vote in Jackson County, Missouri. Encompassing much of the city of Kansas City and its suburbs, it’s about 62% non-Hispanic white, according to Census data, and some 31% of adults have a bachelor’s degree. The median household income is $52,000.