CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
Stay Connected:
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

New Census Data Confirm Increase in Youth Voter Turnout In 2008 Election

April 28th, 2009
Tweet
Share
Email to a Friend

Youth Voter Turnout Rate Rose to 51.1 Percent, Third Highest Rate Ever: 2 Million More Young People Voted Than in 2004

The fact sheet on youth voter turnout and trends in 2008 and a 50-state breakdown can be downloaded here (PDF). The press release is here.

Tisch College, Tufts University — Nearly two million more young Americans under the age of 30 voted in the 2008 presidential elections as compared to the 2004 elections, according to new Census data analyzed and released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College.

The increase is a continuation of the trend observed in the 2004 and 2006 elections. Youth turnout was 11 percentage points higher than in 1996, which was the low point after decades of decline. While young people increased their turnout significantly in 2008, older adults voted at lower rates than in 2004 and only slightly above their 2000 level.

Although overall youth turnout was high in the 2008 presidential election, there were important differences in turnout rates. Young African Americans posted the highest turnout rate ever observed for any racial or ethnic group of young Americans since 1972.

The gap in turnout by educational attainment remained large; voter turnout of young people without college experience was 36%, compared to a 62% rate among young people with college experience. (About half of the young adult population has some college experience.) There was also a significant gender gap in turnout: young women voted at a rate eight points above young men.

“We have now seen three consecutive presidential elections with substantial increases in youth turnout,” said CIRCLE Director Peter Levine. “We appear to have entered a new era of stronger youth engagement—also shown by high rates of volunteering and community service. But there are persistent gaps in engagement, with less advantaged youth still mostly left out. We must find ways to engage and expand civic opportunities for this cohort of young people.”

Presidential Election Year 18-24 Citizens 25 and older Citizens 18-29 Citizens 30 and older Citizens
1972 52.1% 68.4% 55.4% 69.5%
1976 44.4% 65.4% 48.8% 67.0%
1980 43.4% 68.5% 48.2% 70.6%
1984 44.3% 68.9% 49.1% 71.2%
1988 39.9% 65.8% 43.8% 68.5%
1992 48.6% 70.5% 52.0% 72.4%
1996 35.6% 61.6% 39.6% 63.6%
2000 36.1% 62.9% 40.3% 64.6%
2004 46.7% 66.3% 49.0% 67.7%
2008 48.5% 65.8% 51.1% 67.0%

Find more analysis in our 2016 Election Center. For regular updates in your Inbox about youth and the 2016 election, sign up for CIRCLE's monthly E-Update here.

99 Responses to “New Census Data Confirm Increase in Youth Voter Turnout In 2008 Election”

  1. Mark Says:

    Youth can’t really solve all our problem, but they can still contribute something. I hope every youth will participate to the election.

  2. Closet organizer systems Says:

    That’s a good sign. I bet the next election will have even higher turnout.

  3. Los angels Taxi Says:

    Thank you for the great web site – a true resource, and one many people clearly enjoy thanks for sharing the info, keep up the good work going….

  4. Nexus One Downloads Says:

    Thanks for the resource. I never thought of it that way. Clearly you have done the research and talk about it.

  5. Rhinoplasty News Says:

    Great info. Thanks for the tips

  6. Makale Says:

    That’s a good sign. I bet the next election will have even higher turnout.

  7. large Storage Boxes Says:

    Yes that’s a good news for us as the youth voter are more conscious about their voting rights.They’ll be more serious towards the politics & their involvement in it.

  8. flex development Says:

    I would like to come back to your blog tomorrow and get dome note down for my lab work.

  9. autism resources Says:

    Your blog is so scientifically based that I was just afraid to read it as not to feel uneducated.

  10. School Grants for Minority Students Says:

    Nowadays, young people have more modern facilities that provide good conditions to study providing them with more knowledge to chose the correct people to help their country.

  11. edinburgh dentist Says:

    high rates of volunteering and community service. But there are persistent gaps in engagement, with less advantaged youth still mostly left out. We must find ways to engage and expand civic opportunities for this cohort of young people.”

  12. Jawatan Kosong Says:

    Interesting title for a complicated subject. thanks

  13. Jawatan Kosong Says:

    I agree with that info. They should always try to promote it using the best way

  14. Maternity Clothes Malaysia Says:

    Do you think this problem can be solve that easily? I don’t think so…

  15. Maternity Wear Malaysia Says:

    Although it’s never easy to solve this type of problems but giving it a try is probably worth it.

  16. School Loans Consolidation Says:

    That is a great indication. I reckon the next election will have even bigger turnout.

  17. drug and alcohol test Says:

    Interesting title for a complicated subject. thanks

  18. Kerja Sambilan Says:

    Interesting subject but complicated issue.

  19. Kereta Terpakai Says:

    Thanks for the great information.

  20. Cheap boat seats Says:

    Thank you for this analysis because I’m student of sociological department and I need such surveys for my diploma. I think I can take this subject for the basis. Keep up your work.

  21. Beads and findings Says:

    I think young voters are fed up with the way the country is being run and want their voice to be heard.

  22. seks Melayu Says:

    When voters request or needs are not met, they then to get frustrated and angry. It is as simple as that.

  23. Compost Tumbler Says:

    “Older adults voted at lower rates than in 2004″ that is really interesting considering it was one of the most important elections in recent history. It looks like the youth vote really made a difference.

  24. subway coupons Says:

    This just shows that todays youth has not yet applied the full power through voting. More should be done to help let young people know how important it is to vote.

  25. jobs Says:

    I think it is possible, to some extent, that they youth vote was not relevant on this issue due to the inexperience or indifference of that voter segment to the amendment. If they did not express a preference at all, then the older vote would sway the outcome.

  26. weekend jobs Says:

    I have no explanation why the amendment would have been rejected in 2006. Were the amendments worded exactly the same in both years? That would certainly be a factor if not.

  27. Forex Malaysia Says:

    Thanks for the tips

  28. Seks Melayu Says:

    Thanks for the wonderful idea.

  29. Life Insurance Claim Denial Says:

    calculation looks quite stable, because the ration between the period of time and percentage is minimized. Thanks for sharing

  30. Miele Spares Says:

    Yes, the statistics never lies..

  31. Malaysia Forex Says:

    Thanks for the tips

  32. Make money online free Says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. This was a great post to come by. I cant wait to catch the next one.

  33. kerja dari rumah Says:

    It takes time for this time of information to come by, but making thing happen and changing the mind set will not be easy.

  34. BLOG 3: Political Campaigns since Nixon « Missouri Communication Says:

    […] increased youth advertising.  Thanks to Hughes and the Obama “millennial campaign,” the 2008 vote increased to 51.1% in 2008, while older adults voted at lower rates. When told Yes We Can, their […]

  35. Why Aren’t Americans Making the Most of Their Democracy? « VOA Student Union Says:

    […] the last presidential election, only about 62% of eligible Americans voted. Turnout among young people was even worse, although activist groups were excited that it was one of the highest youth turnouts in 30 […]

  36. Millennials are a “we” not “me” generation | | Mike & MorleyMike & Morley Says:

    […] Millennial participation in that most basic of American rights and civic actions—voting—is also greater than for previous generations of young people. According to census data reported by CIRCLE, an organization that researches and influences youthful political participation, 49% of those 18-24 and 51% of those 18-29 voted in the 2008 presidential election. With one exception, this was the highest youth participation in any presidential election since 1972, when Democratic candidate, George McGovern targeted and won young people (if little else). It was well above the numbers in 1996 (36% for 18-24 year olds and 40% for 18-29 year olds) when the “youth vote” was entirely Gen-X. (http://civicyouth.org/new-census-data-confirm-increase-in-youth-voter-turnout-in-2008-election/) […]

  37. Do You Think All Millennials Go to San Diego State? Says:

    […] also greater than for previous generations of young people. According to census data reported by CIRCLE, an organization that researches political participation by young people, 49% of those 18-24 and […]

  38. Romney and Obama’s Totally Pointless Battle for Youths | Con Games Says:

    […] Except it wasn't a historic thing. According to research from Tufts University's Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 48.5 percent of citizens 18 to 24 voted in 2008. In 2004, that number was 46.7 percent. In […]

  39. The Kids In The (Convention) Hall: A Millennial Perspective On The DNC - Forbes Says:

    […] two million more young adults voted in the 2008 presidential election compared to the 2004 turnout. Emily Craig was one of the 51% of […]

  40. The Kids In The (Convention) Hall: A Millennial Perspective On The DNC – Forbes | Latest News Says:

    […] two million more young adults voted in the 2008 presidential election compared to the 2004 turnout. Emily Craig was one of the 51% of […]

  41. The Kids In The (Convention) Hall: A Millennial Perspective On The DNC – Forbes | Dubai News|Dubai Hotels|Dubai Business Says:

    […] two million more young adults voted in the 2008 presidential election compared to the 2004 turnout. Emily Craig was one of the 51% of […]

  42. Knight Crier : Upcoming Presidential Election to Have Major Impact on Current High School Students Says:

    […] 2008 general election saw an increase in young voter turnout. According to CIRCLE, young voter turnout in 2008 rose to 51.1%, the highest since the 52% of the 1992 election. The […]

  43. The politics of social media « A. M. Wild Gomez Says:

    […] as an accessible figure to his most important constituents: the American youth. As such, a reported 48.5% of registered voters between the ages of 18-24 turned out to vote in that election … while this was only a 2% increase from 2004 turnout rates, […]

  44. Kingmakers No More: Is Gen Y Too Jaded To Vote? - Forbes Says:

    […] 2008 presidential election saw the third-highest youth voter turnout in history and President Obama’s ability to connect with and mobilize young Americans was widely lauded as a […]

  45. Young Americans find power in high voter turn out | Bird By Bird Says:

    […] College voters are a huge demographic in national elections and can have a huge effect on voter involvement, as we saw with the 2008 elections. In 2008, “nearly 2 million more young Americans under the age of 30” voted in the presidential election than in 2004, according to census data from The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. […]

  46. Young Voter Trend: Different from 2008? « Luke LeSourd's Blog Says:

    […] experienced a youth movement that was unprecedented in the United States history.  According to CIRCLE.com, the youth voter turnout rose 51.1 percent, which is the third highest rate ever.  2 million more […]

  47. Young Voters Far Less Enthusiastic For Obama This Time Around Says:

    […] polls far less than older voters ever since being granted the vote by the 26th Amendment. Indeed, voter turnout among this age group was 51.1%, the highest it had been since 1992 when it reached 52.0%, although still not as high as the […]

  48. Politics » Generation Y: Growing Up in the New Millenium Says:

    […] to a report from the The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), in 2008, youth voter turnout was at 48.5%, which is the third highest recorded turnout rate for […]

  49. Youth voter turnout from 1972-2008 | Elections Says:

    […] is a graphic compiled from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement to show the changes in the youth vote (ages 18-24) during the past few […]