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Turnout by ageEstimation of Voter Turnout by Age Group and Gender at the 2021 General Election

The report breaks down age into the following groups:

  • 18-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65-74
  • 75+

The report further breaks down the category of 18-24-year-olds into "1st time" and "not 1st time" voters. The "1st time" category includes youth eligible to vote federally for the first time. For the 2021 general election, this includes those born between October 22, 2001, and September 20, 2003. The category "not 1st time" includes those youth under 25 years old who were previously eligible to vote federally. For the 2021 general election, this includes those born between September 21, 1996, and October 21, 2001.

Previous studies by Elections Canada4 have shown youth have the largest gap between registered electors and eligible electors. Relatively fewer eligible electors in the 18-24 age group would have been sent a voter information card telling them when and where to vote during the 2021 general election; this could explain in part the lower turnout rates for this age group.

Youth turnout keeps decreasing after peak in 2015, and women still voted at higher rates than men

For the 2021 general election, the breakdown of participation by age group is shown in Figure 4.

Turnout gradually increases with age from 46.7% for ages 1824 to 74.9% for ages 6574, and then declines to 65.9% for those 75 and older. This pattern has been seen in every general election since 2004.

Figure 4: Voter Turnout by Age Group, 2021 General Election

Figure 4: Voter Turnout by Age Group, 2021 General Election

Text version of "Figure 4: Voter Turnout by Age Group, 2021 General Election"
Age Group Turnout
1st time* 44.7%
not 1st time* 47.4%
18–24 46.7%
25–34 52.8%
35–44 59.0%
45–54 63.8%
55–64 68.3%
65–74 74.9%
75+ 65.9%

Participation of voters aged 1824 had declined, but is still above the historical average (minus 10.4 points to 46.7%), after seeing the maximum participation on record (57.1%) in 2015. Among the 1824 age group, those electors eligible to vote for the first time federally, i.e., those born between September 20, 2003, and October 22, 2001, voted at a comparable rate (44.7%) as those who were previously eligible to vote (47.4%).

Figure 5 shows how turnout by age group in 2021 compares with the range of turnout rates for all elections since 2004.

  • The grey line indicates the average turnout for elections from 2004 to 2021, inclusive
  • The upward pointing triangle indicates the highest turnout rate for a given age group in the same timeframe
  • The downward pointing triangle indicates the lowest turnout rate for a given age group
    Figure 5: Voter Turnout by Age Group, General Elections 2004 to 2021*

    Figure 5: Voter Turnout by Age Group, General Elections 2004 to 2021*

    Text version of "Figure 5: Voter Turnout by Age Group, General Elections 2004 to 2021*"
    Gender Age Group Eligible population
    Women+ 1st time 340,642
    Women+ not 1st time 960,325
    Women+ 18–24 1,300,966
    Women+ 25–34 2,142,212
    Women+ 35–44 2,259,468
    Women+ 45–54 2,223,582
    Women+ 55–64 2,548,984
    Women+ 65–74 2,003,523
    Women+ 75+ 1,612,587
    Men+ 1st time 358,009
    Men+ not 1st time 1,008,859
    Men+ 18–24 1,366,869
    Men+ 25–34 2,193,646
    Men+ 35–44 2,178,342
    Men+ 45–54 2,143,227
    Men+ 55–64 2,463,723
    Men+ 65–74 1,888,687
    Men+ 75+ 1,321,350
  • The circle and the numeric label indicate the results for the 44th general election; when the circle overlaps with a triangle, the result reached a high or low point in the 20042021 period

From this chart, we observe that the turnout for the 44th general election is around the historical average in this period for all age groups.

Footnote

4Source: National Register of Electors - Updates: November 2020 Annual Lists of Electors. Elections Canada. https://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=pol&document=index&dir=ann/upd&lang=e