White youth voted at the highest rate in 2020, but youth of color are closing the gap.
Our analysis of youth voter turnout nationwide finds wide variation between states and underscores the importance of electoral laws and policies that help grow voters.
New Jersey led the region and the nation in youth voter turnout in 2020; six states in the Northeast had turnout rates above 50%.
The states with one of the highest (Minnesota) and the lowest (South Dakota) 2020 youth voter turnout are in the Midwest.
Voter turnout across the South a region where voting by mail was generally not as easy, ranged from 56% in Virginia to 34% in Oklahoma.
Electoral participation ranged from 39% to 63% in this region, where many states tried to facilitate voting by mail in 2020.
The runoff elections for both Georgia seats will determine control of the Senate, and mobilizing Black youth in the state may be a decisive factor.
Campaigns are leaving millions of votes on the table by not engaging young people, who often face challenges to electoral participation.
We estimate that young people turned out at a higher rate in 2020 than in 2016, and their impact—especially youth of color's overwhelming support for Biden—was decisive in key races across the country.
Minnesota has had the strongest youth participation in the country in recent elections, and the youth vote could decide several House races in 2020.