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The Electoral Participation of Diverse Canadian Youth in the 2015 Federal Election

The National Youth Survey

The survey used for our analysis is the 2015 National Youth Survey (NYS), conducted by Elections Canada in the follow-up to the October 2015 federal general election. The National Youth Survey is a large representative sample, including an over-sample of Aboriginal youth, ethno-cultural youth, unemployed youth, youth residing in rural areas, and youth with disabilities. In addition, the NYS 2015 covers important details about the motivational and access barriers that Canadian youth encountered in the past federal general election, as well as other important voter predictors, such as political resources, attitudes, mobilization, and engagement. Therefore, the NYS 2015 is an excellent data source to examine the differential impact of access barriers and other traditional predictors for voter turnout among youth subgroups.

A total of 3,009 Canadians were surveyed: 2,506 respondents were Canadians aged 18 to 34 (segmented by region: Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, British Columbia, and Northern Canada), and 503 were aged 35 and older. The NYS 2015 survey employed a mixed mode sampling methodology. A total of 1,503 respondents were randomly selected and completed the survey by cell phone. The remaining 1,506 respondents were selected non-randomly through online panels. To ensure an adequate sample size for the different youth subgroups of interest, an oversample was completed for the five following subgroups: Aboriginal youth (n=264, 15% live on-reserve), ethno-cultural youth (n=718), youth residing in rural areas (n=815), youth with disabilities (n=280), and unemployed youth who are not in school (n=175). More details on the sub-samples and the weighting procedures employed can be found in the survey report provided by Nielsen (2016).