Youth Participation More than Triples at Iowa Caucuses

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The turnout of young voters for the Iowa nominating caucuses has almost tripled since 2000, according to preliminary analysis conducted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a Carnegie Corporation grantee. Participation of voters under 30 rose from 3 percent in 2000 to 13 percent in 2008. The turnout rate for voters 30 and older was 15 percent. The research was released on January 4, 2008. Read the press release.

The turnout rate has historically been low in Iowa caucuses, but the youth turnout rate was much higher for the 2008 caucuses than in recent years. This result continues a trend observed in other elections since 2000. In the 2006 congressional elections, the national voter turnout rate among 18-to-29-year-olds increased by three percentage points compared to the congressional election of 2002. And in the 2004 presidential election, the national youth voter turnout rate rose 9 percentage points compared to 2000, reaching 49 percent. In 2004, under-30-year olds were registered to vote at the highest rate in 30 years.

The youth turnout rate is one of the best indicators of how young Americans are engaging in the political process.

Carnegie Corporation supports national and locally-based non-profit groups working to integrate immigrants and other disconnected populations into civil society and to strengthen civic education to prepare young people to participate in our democracy.