Young Adults Rocked The Vote In 2018, New Census Data Shows

Turnout in last year's midterm elections also spiked among Hispanic and Asian voters.
Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

Voter turnout among young adults skyrocketed in the 2018 midterm elections, according to new Census Bureau data released Tuesday.

The 2018 midterms witnessed a historic jump in voter turnout: an 11 percentage point increase from the 2014 midterm elections. More than 53% of the voting age population said they cast ballots in 2018, marking the highest midterm turnout in four decades, the Census Bureau found. The 2014 election had seen the lowest voter turnout in that same time span.

Voter turnout was up among all demographic groups, but none so dramatically as young adults. Roughly 36% of 18- to 29-year-olds reported voting in the 2018 midterms, a 79% jump from the nearly 20% who said they voted in 2014.

The Census Bureau data was based on self-reported information. When the United States Elections Project, run by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, adjusted the data for non-response and voter over-reporting bias, the jump for the youngest adults looked more like a 100% increase.

The turnout from one midterm to the next rose sharply among all other age groups as well, including a 13 percentage point increase among 30- to 44-year-olds, according to the Census Bureau. Younger adults generally still vote at lower rates than their elders, and the Elections Project noted that the electorate continues to trend older even as it becomes increasingly racially and ethnically diverse.

The Census Bureau also found roughly 50% increases in turnout among Asian and Hispanic voters, two demographic groups that have historically voted at much lower rates than white and black voters.

Voter turnout increased from roughly 27% in 2014 to over 40% last year among both Asian and Hispanic voters. Among black voters, turnout rose from about 41% to 51%. And among white voters, it jumped from about 46% to more than 57%.

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