The Gender Gap in Voter Participation Rates of College Students

A new report from the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, finds the voter participation by college students increased for the 2020 national election. The study found that of the more than 1,000 colleges and universities in this analysis, 97 percent of campuses saw an increase in 2020 voter participation compared to the 2016 general election.

Nationwide, 66 percent of college students cast ballots in 2020, up from 52 percent in 2016. More than 80 percent of college students who were registered to vote cast ballots.

Among college students, women were more likely to vote than men. In 2020, 64 percent of women college students voted compared to 58 percent of male students. In 2016, 52 percent of women college students voted compared to 44 percent of male college students.

Women college students in all racial and ethnic groups were more likely to vote than their male peers. There was a 10 percentage point gender gap among African Americans, the largest gap of any racial or ethnic group. Asian American women outvoted their male counterparts by nine percentage points. For Hispanic college students, women had a voter participation rate 6 percentage points higher than men. White women had a voter participation rate 5 percentage points higher than White men.

The voter participation rate at women’s colleges was particularly high. In 2020, 76 percent of all students at women’s colleges cast ballots. This was up from 65 percent in 2016. In both years, voter participation rates at women’s colleges were significantly higher than for college students generally.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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