This report estimates turnout by age group in federal elections from 1965 to 2008.
The report illustrates two major trends. First, turnout among first-time electors has dropped over time. In 1965, about two thirds of first-time electors voted in their first election. By the mid-1980s, just over half of first-time electors were voting. By 2004, that number had fallen to just over one third. This is referred to as the generational or cohort effect. Second, as young people age, they are much less likely to take up the habit of voting than was the case for previous generations. This is referred to as a weakening of the life cycle effect… Continue reading »
The report also examines the socio-demographic and political engagement factors associated with voting. The most important factors are knowledge of politics and political interest. Young people with high levels of knowledge and interest are more than three times more likely to vote than those with low levels.
The study draws upon data from each Canadian Election Study dating back to 1965. Updated estimates with turnout by age group for the 2011 federal election are available in Generational Change: Looking at Declining Youth Voter Turnout over Time.
Université de Montréal
University of Toronto
Date: January 2011