Trends by Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
Voting rates vary greatly, with young women and Black youth leading the way
In 2012, African American youth voted at a rate of 53.7%, the highest among all racial and ethnic groups but down by 4.5 percentage points compared to 2008.
Source: The Youth Vote in 2012
Since the 1972 election, young women have consistently voted at a higher rate than young men. However, among young women of different ethnic groups, turnout differs. In 2012, 60.1% of young Black women voted, compared to 48.7% of young White women, 40% of Asian American women and 39.9% of Latinas.
Voting is only one manifestation of civic engagement, and young people participate in civic life and politics in varied ways
Using a technique called cluster analysis, we have identified patterns in young people’s civic engagement. In 2011, we found six distinct clusters: “civically alienated,” “broadly engaged,” “political specialists,” “only voted,” “politically marginalized,” and “engaged non-voters.”
In both 2008 and 2010, young women were more likely than young men to be “broadly engaged.”
In 2008, White and Black youth were more likely than their Asian and Latino peers to be “broadly engaged” or “political specialists.” More than half of Asian and Latino youth were either “politically marginalized” or “civically alienated.”
In 2010, Asian youth were more likely than other groups to be donors, while White youth were more likely to be “broadly engaged” and Black youth more likely to be under-mobilized.
Issue positions and party affiliation can differ quite a bit by race, ethnicity and gender
Young women who voted in the 2012 election were more likely to identify as Democrats than their male counterparts. The same is true for candidate support in 2012: young women were more likely to support President Obama than young men of the same race or ethnicity. Young Black and Hispanic women were most likely to identify as Democrat and vote for President Obama.
While women are more civically engaged than young men on several indicators, they remain underrepresented in civic and political leadership
For youth who go to college, the gap between young men and women’s leadership confidence expands during the college years.
Exposure to quality civic learning opportunities is unequally distributed
Youth who attend schools in districts with higher socioeconomic status, White students, and those who are on a college track are more likely to be exposed to high quality civic learning opportunities than their peers.
Source: Democracy for Some
Other Resources: For more information on trends by race, ethnicity, & gender:
- Young Voters in the 2010 Elections
- The Minority Youth Vote in the 2008 Presidential Election
- Voter Turnout Among Young Women and Men in the 2008 Presidential Election
- Youth Attitudes toward Civility in Politics
- Volunteering among Youth of Immigrant Origin
- The Youth Vote in 2008
- Predicting Civic Engagement in Urban High School Students
- Young Voters in the 2008 Presidential Election
- Civic Engagement and the Disadvantaged: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations
- Do Race, Ethnicity, Citizenship and Socio-economic Status Determine Civic Engagement?
Last Updated: 8/11/2014