Close Menu

28% of Young People Voted in 2018

Our new turnout estimate based on voter file data from 42 states shows a significant increase compared to 2014.

We recently released estimates of 2018 midterm youth voter turnout in all 42 states for which  youth voting data are available in the voter files. Our analyses found that, in every single state, young people’s turnout rate increased compared to 2014.

Based on the data from those 42 states (which represent 94% of the American youth population) we estimate that, nationwide, 28.2% of young citizens (ages 18-29) voted in the 2018 midterm elections.

This new estimate, based on voter file data aggregated by Catalist, comes close to our initial 31% estimate, which was based on exit poll data and calculated the day after the election. The 28.2% national turnout rate is a more precise and reliable estimate that further confirms the increased youth participation in last November’s midterms. It’s more than double the national youth turnout (calculated using the same method) from the 2014 midterms, when we estimate that only 13% of eligible youth cast a ballot—itself a much lower turnout rate than the 20% figure initially calculated through different methodology.

The release of this national turnout estimate is an ideal occasion to reiterate and reflect on some of the factors that made the 2018 election cycle different, and conducive to a remarkable rise in youth political participation: