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Chapter 4. Activities Outside of School and Work

Indicator 38. Voting Behavior

Forty-nine percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported voting in the 2008 presidential election, a percentage not measurably different from the 47 percent of young adults who reported voting in the 2004 presidential election. In 2008, some 52 percent of female and 45 percent of male young adults reported voting. No measurable difference was observed for males or females in this age group in the percentage who reported voting in 2008 compared to 2004. Some differences were found by race/ethnicity over time. A greater percentage of Black young adults reported voting in the 2008 election than in the 2004 election (56 vs. 47 percent).

Differences in reported voting rates in election years were found by sex, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment. In both the 2004 and 2008 elections, the percentage of female young adults who reported voting was higher than that of male young adults. In this age group in 2008, a greater percentage of Blacks (56 percent) reported voting than did Whites (49 percent), Hispanics (39 percent), Asians (39 percent), and American Indians/Alaska Natives (27 percent). In turn, a greater percentage of White young adults reported voting than did Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian/Alaska Native young adults. In the 2004 election, no measurable differences were found between White and Black young adults in their reported voting rates. In 2004, a greater percentage of White young adults reported voting than did Hispanic and Asian young adults. In both the 2004 and 2008 elections, the percentage of young adults who reported voting was higher in general for young adults with higher levels of educational attainment than for their peers with less education. For instance, in 2008, some 71 percent of young adults with a bachelor's degree reported voting, compared with 57 percent of those with some college education, 40 percent of those who had completed high school, and 27 percent of those who had not completed high school.

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