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Civic Engagement

  • Overall, the percentage of young adults who reported that they had ever voted ranged from a high of 62 percent in 1974 to a low of 51 percent in 1982. The two more recent cohorts were intermediate between the two extremes (56 percent voter participation for 1994 young adults, and 58 percent for 2006 young adults).
  • Within each of the four cohorts, there was a positive association between expected levels of educational attainment and reported rates of voting. In each cohort, the percentages of those who had ever voted were higher among those who expected to attain a bachelor's degree or some higher level of education than among those who only expected to graduate from high school or less. For example, in 1974, 50 percent of those who expected to attain a high school diploma or less voted, compared with 72 percent of those who expected to be college graduates and 77 percent who expected to complete a graduate or professional degree. In 2006, the comparable figures were 35 percent, 61 percent, and 66 percent, respectively.
    Overall, the percentage of young adults who had served in the military was smaller in 2006 than in 1974 and 1982—3 percent for young adults in 2006, but 7 percent for young adults in 1974, and 6 percent for young adults in 1982.

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