2004 Youth Vote

10 Nov 2004|Christoper Ireland

I’ve gotten so many requests to clarify whether youth voters turned out this year or not, I decided it was worth a blog. The answer is they did–but how you spin the numbers is up to you. Here’s the straight, non-subjective data along with various ways you can communicate it, depending on what message you want to send.

According to the Census and published exit polls, there were 44.8 mil people aged 18-29 in the US in 2000. Of these, 39.8 mil were citizens who could vote if they were registered. Of those 18-29 year old citizens, 15.8 mil voted in the 2000 election.

In 2004, there were 46.8 mil people aged 18-29. Of these, 40.8 mil were citizens. Of those citizens, 20.9 mil voted in the 2004 election.

Here’s what you can accurately say about this data:

–The ranks of youth voters swelled by 32% in this election.

–Barely half of those 18-29 who could vote, did.

–The population of youths who can’t vote is growing faster than the population of youths who can vote.

–Young, non-US citizens are flooding into the country in growing numbers, depressing the Youth vote.

–Nearly 97% of the youth population who were registered to vote in 2000 (21 mil) actually did come to the polls in 2004.

–The youth vote represented barely 10% of the US population who could vote.

–The youth vote grew by 20% as a percentage of the population who could vote.

–The total youth population represents nearly 1/4 of the US voting population.

You get the picture. Depending on your bias and what picture you want to paint, the exact same data will support either side. This is true regardless of the topic or the methodology (there’s nothing more rigorous than a census). Want to avoid being mislead by solid data? Then, look into the bias of those reporting it. And don’t ever believe anyone who says he or she has none.

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