Young People Are Registering to Vote in Huge Numbers, New Study Finds

In some battleground states, 18-to-29-year-olds now make up a far greater percentage of new registrants.

Student protesters at the March for Our Lives in Detroit, Michigan on March 24, 2018.Chirag Wakaskar/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The March for Our Lives teens said they’d #VoteThemOut, and a new study suggests they could be poised to do just that. According to the political data firm TargetSmart, the percentage of newly registered voters who are under the age of 30 has grown significantly in a number of key battleground states since the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The surge could have big implications in this fall’s fight for control of Congress.

The study evaluated all new voter registrations in the 39 states with available data since February 14, 2018—the day of the Parkland shooting—and calculated the change in the share of new registrants who are 18 to 29 years old. Across the country, the share of youth registrants increased by a modest 2.16 percentage points. But in Indiana, Virginia, and New York—home to some of this year’s marquee House and Senate contests—the share of youth registrants increased by 9.87, 10.49, and 10.7 percentage points, respectively. In Pennsylvania—where voters will decide as many as nine competitive congressional races—the share of new registrants who are younger than 30 jumped by a whopping 16.14 percentage points. The study doesn’t evaluate how many of the new registrants may have been motivated by the #NeverAgain movement.

The findings offer an early, measurable indication that youth turnout could be higher than in previous midterm elections, though there’s no guarantee that many of the new registrants will actually vote. Just under half of all 18-to-29-year-olds were registered to vote in 2014, but less than 20 percent of that population group ended up casting ballots that year. It was the lowest rate of of youth registration and turnout recorded in four decades, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate