A 2009 Project Vote report on voter participation in the 2008 elections shows how drastically civic engagement amongst young people, and especially among young people of color, lags behind other groups:
- Though 21% of the eligible voter population, voters 18-29 made up only 17% of the actual voting population in 2008.
- Approximately 21 million citizens under the age of 30 did not vote in 2008.
- If younger citizens had voted at the same rate as those aged 30 and over, 7 million more people would have cast ballots in the election.
- As of November 2008, fewer than half (49%) of the 3.7 million
18-year-old citizens were registered to vote, a rate 22 points lower
than the general population.
- In 2008, non-white or Latino 18-year-old citizens were registered to
vote at a rate six percentage points behind their white counterparts,
51 percent of whom are registered.
While most youth voter registration programs target college students, there is a tremendous
gap in voting and turnout rates between young people with college experience and those without.
- Fully half of the 32 million Americans aged 18-24 have no college experience.
- 52% of 18-24 year-old African-Americans, and 68% of 18-24 year-old Latinos, have no college experience.
- 70% of the total student population of colleges in 2007 was White
- Over the past twenty years voting by young people with no college experience lagged approximately 30 percentage points behind those with college experience.
The resources on this page summarize the current state of youth voting in America, and provide background, recommendations, and tools to inform and advance efforts to increase engagement among the nation's underrepresented young people.