Why older voters outnumber younger voters
May 1, 2012, 8:19 a.m.
Older voters outnumber younger voters in their participation in actual voting throughout the country. This is not a trend, but a historical pattern that continues to show up in voting statistics as the general population of the U.S. continues to age. The "Baby Boomer" population is reaching an average age of 65, and these voters have a long history of active participation.
Several reasons for these voter statistics are credited for the high number of older voters in all elections. What brings older voters out in droves is that many issues, especially in national elections, are issues of keen interest to older voters. For example, health care, Medicare and Social Security affect older voters, so they naturally are interested in protecting those benefits that are so important to the aging population.
Younger voters tend to be more mobile than older voters. Younger persons move around the country, change jobs, marry and move away from home, and are just busier than older voters. The problem this creates is that with each move, the voter needs to reregister in their new location to be eligible to vote. For some younger voters, interest in voting only occurs where there is a presidential election at stake. They may be less likely to be interested in local issues and therefore may not even be registered right after they move. Voting statistics show older voters are more stable in their residences and have a long history of voting in local and national elections.
Time can be another factor that makes voting easier and more convenient to boomer voters. Younger people may be tied into a restrictive work schedule and then they miss out on voting or neglect to show up to vote for various reasons. Older voters can go vote at more times that are convenient for their needs.
Traditionally, older voters have been more active in voting during their entire lives. Voting, patriotism and participation are highly important to these voters. Candidates will make special efforts to reach the older voting block in their campaign stops and advertising. Eventually, the trend may flip, as younger voters are better able to help candidates with campaign activities and therefore are sought out and courted by politicians wanting votes. The younger voters have been an effective voting block in recent elections, but whether that impact remains is yet to be seen by the numbers.
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