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#YouthTruth: Young Voters are Diverse in Many Ways

August 22nd, 2012
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Young people are more racially and ethnically diverse compared to older voters.

  • Only 61.5% of 18-29 year old eligible voters are White Non-Hispanic compared to 73.6% of older voters. Young voters are more likely to identify as African-American (14.3% vs. 11.3%) and Latino (16.7% vs. 9.3%) compared to older voters.
  • Young voters are more likely to have at least one parent who was born outside the US than voters over 30 (18.9% vs. 17.0%) compared to older voters.

Not all eligible youth are college students or have college experience

  • Substantial portions (40.4%) of young eligible voters do not have any college experience. Approximately a quarter of young eligible voters are in college (24.4%)[1] and only 19.9% of young people have a college degree
  • Asian-American youth are most likely to have a college degree (37.7%) followed by White Non-Hispanics (23.6%). Latino (10.9%) and African-American youth (11.7%) are least likely to have college degrees.

Young people are at many different life stages

  • 19.1% of young eligible voters are married and 21.4% of young eligible voters have children that live with them.

Many youth impacted by economy, especially youth with no college experience

  • Unemployment is a problem facing all youth, but youth without college experience are particularly affected by it. According to the March 2012 Current Population Study, 95.5% of eligible youth with college diplomas and 89.7% of those with some college experience are employed compared to 82.6% of youth with only a high school diploma and 71.9% of youth without a high school diploma.[2]
  • Young people have almost twice the unemployment rate (12.6%) of those over 30 (6.7%). However the differences in unemployment are largest among those without a college degree. 20.1% of youth with no college experience are unemployed compared to 9.1% of those with no college experience over 30.

–Josh Littenberg-Tobias, CIRCLE Graduate Assistant

Source: CIRCLE analysis of Census  Current Population Survey (CPS)  March 2012


[1] The CPS only asks young people under 25 about college attendance

[2]Unemployment figures are not seasonally adjusted

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.

4 Responses to “#YouthTruth: Young Voters are Diverse in Many Ways”

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    […] voters make up to close to 20 percent of the electorate in the United States — a big voting block for any candidate. As of early October, 14 percent […]

  3. Can Online Games Improve Young People’s Civic Participation? | NEPSNews Youth Says:

    […] voters make up to close to 20 percent of the electorate in the United States — a big voting block for any candidate. As of early October, 14 […]

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    […] voters make up to close to 20 percent of the electorate in the United States, yet a recent Pew study points to declining voter registration among young […]