Did You Know?

By the Numbers

Young people do not turnout at the same rate as older voters. Here are some statistics to show the work that still needs to be done!


  • Well over a quarter of college students reported in 2010 that they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how  to register or they missed the deadline.
  • Hispanic college students are less likely than white or black students to register to vote. in 2010, just under 42 percent of Hispanic college students registered to vote compared to over 56% among white students and 55% among black students.
  • Registration is key to turning out college students. In 2008, of the 18-24 year old college students that registered to vote, 87 percent actually voted.
  • Apathy isn't the issue with getting college students to the polls. In 2010, less than 13 percent of college students said they reason they didn't vote was they were not interested.
  • Despite widespread reports of overwhelming youth engagement in the 2008 election, young voters only made up about 19 percent of the electorate.
  • Youth voter turnout in the 2008 election was only 2 percentage points higher than in the 2004 election.
  • 59 percent of young Americans whose home state offered Election Day Registration (EDR) voted in the 2008 election.
  • Since 1972, young women have been more likely to vote than young men; in 2008 the voter turnout gap between genders was eight percentage points.
  • In 2008, 58.2 percent of African-American youth voted, which is the highest turnout rate of any youth racial/ethnic group since 1972.
  • In 2008, states that mailed sample ballots & information about polling places and extended polling place hours saw youth turnout increase by about 10 percent.
  • An estimated 24 percent of all eligible young people ages 18-29 voted in the 2010 midterms.
  • Most (85 percent) of young adults who voted in 2010 had also voted in 2008. The 2010 young electorate was mostly a subset of the 2008 electorate.
  • In the 2010 midterm elections, younger voters were more racially and ethnically diverse than the electorate as a whole. Among younger voters, 66% were white, 14% Black, 15% Hispanic, 3% Asian, and 2% "all others"
  • In 2004, only 8 percent of the party chairs identified young people as the most important demographic for the "long-term success of their party," compared to 21 percent who named senior citizens.
  • Turnout among young women declined between 2006 and 2010 by three points.
  • In 2010, young African Americans voted at a rate of 27.5 percent. This was an increase from the 2006 midterm elections, when 24.0 percent of young African Americans had voted.
  • White youth in 2010 experienced the largest decline in voter turnout, dropping from 28.0 percent in 2006 to 24.9 percent.
  • In the 2010 election, young people with college experience were almost twice as likely to vote as those without college experience (14.2% vs. 30.8%).
  • Young people with a college degree saw the greatest decline in voting rates compared to their counterparts with less education in 2010: turnout dropped four points from 41.0 percent in 2006 to 37.4 percent.
  • In the 2010 election, young people age 18 to 24 who were currently in college were more likely to vote than their peers who were not currently attending college by a margin of nine percentage points.

* All statistics were compiled from data provided by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).