Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Do youth vote? It seems not.

Elections BC did some good analysis of who voted in the 2009 election, one aspect of this was a breakdown of voters by age.   I have taken their data and expanded it a bit.

  • I have added the total provincial population  - not everyone that lives in BC is eligible to be a voter.  People under age 44 have a higher portion of people not eligible to vote than those 45 and older.  Almost all the people that can not vote are not Canadian citizens
  • I have calculated the percentage each age cohort represents in each category, this allows you to see  how much the results are skewed older.

Age   BC Stats Pop   Elig. Voters   Reg. Voters    Voted
18-24 428,738 11.90% 380,242 11.74% 261,450  8.73% 102,220  6.19%
25-34 598,545 16.62% 511,130 15.78% 455,264 15.20% 172,203 10.43%
35-44 630,950 17.52% 548,571 16.94% 525,767 17.55% 248,359 15.04%
45-54 714,846 19.85% 653,320 20.17% 634,082 21.17% 363,842 22.03%
55-64 572,042 15.88% 528,703 16.32% 520,940 17.39% 350,313 21.21%
65-74 346,710  9.63% 323,157  9.98% 313,947 10.48% 231,148 14.00%
75+   309,561  8.60% 293,614  9.07% 284,015  9.48% 183,481 11.11%
   
Looking at this table you can see that people aged 65-74 in 2009 voted at close to 50% higher levels than their portion of the overall population.

In the 2009 election 46.72% of the voters were 55 or older but this part of the population was only 34.11% of the overall population.  This is the mirror opposite of the people aged 18-44 who represent 46.04% of the adult population but only 31.66% of the voters.

It should be a huge concern for everyone that close to half the voters are of retirement age but only represent a bit more than 1/3 of the population.   Voters aged 55 and over voted at a rate of 1.37 times of their population weight, the under 44 meanwhile voted only at 0.69 times their weight of population.   Effectively the impact of the 55 and over voters is twice that of those under 44.

There were 82,028 more people aged 18-24 than people aged 65-74 but there were 128,928 more voters aged 65-74 than 18-24.   

If under 34 people voted at a rate of 50% of eligible voters, there would have been 171,263 more voters in 2009, an increase of more than 10% of the total vote.  That is more than 2,000 votes per riding.  Given that all the research indicates that those aged under 35 are more likely to consider supporting a third party of a left of centre party, this lack of youth voters benefits the right at the expense of the right.

What it also means is that even though the right may win the election, they do not have any sort of strong mandate from the whole population.   The non-voters may not have voted but likely hate the government.

Post a Comment