CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
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#YouthTruth: Young Voters are Diverse in Many Ways

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

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

  1. Philip DeFranco Gets Political On The YouTube Election Hub Channel Says:

    [...] myth of young men and women being notorious non-voters is rapidly being debunked. In fact, 22% of all eligible voters are between 18 and 29 years old. While that age demographic doesn’t make up the majority of [...]

  2. Can Online Games Improve Young People’s Civic Participation? | Online Games News | Game Unlimitted | Game, New and updates 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 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 [...]

  4. Can Online Games Improve Young People’s Civic Participation? « Youth Media for Building Healthy Communities Says:

    [...] 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 [...]

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