Release date: 10-30-2012
In 2008 an estimated 22 million young people (ages 18-29) voted in the national election. This was one of the highest turnouts of young people ever recorded. Two million more people under the age of 30 voted in 2008 than in 2004. While young voters typically represent the smallest percentage of votes in an election, they are a major subset of the electorate. Young people represent 24% of the eligible voting population. As a result, their voting power is significant in terms of its potential impact on an election. The increased youth turnout in the 2008 election has inspired many researchers and advocates to explore the reasons for this increase and ways to further youth voting and engagement in future elections. A confluence of factors such as extensive voter outreach measures, civic education and increased public interest are important contributors to increasing voter turnout. This issue brief reviews the current research on youth civic engagement and discusses policy and practice implications for the youth vote.