College students voted in record numbers in 2020 election: study


College students turned out to vote in record numbers during the 2020 presidential election, according to a new study.

Sixty-six percent of college students voted in the 2020 presidential election, up from 52 percent in the 2016 election, according to a report from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.

The 14-percentage-point jump in voter turnout among college students in that time period topped that of all Americans, who only saw a 6 percent increase from 61 percent to 67 percent, according to the report.

The study found that private institutions saw the highest voting rates compared to public universities. Private bachelor’s degree-granting schools tracked a 17 percentage point increase in voting last year.

When broken down by demographics, Asian American students’ participation increased by 17 percentage points from 2016 to 2020, though they still tracked a lower turnout rate, 51 percent, compared to other demographic groups.

White women saw the largest turnout among race/gender subgroups at 73 percent, followed by multiracial women at 69 percent, white men at 68 percent and Black women at 66 percent, according to the report.

College students also registered to vote in higher numbers, according to the study, increasing from 69 percent in 2016 to 80 percent in 2020.

Researchers examined data from almost 1,200 campuses to study college students’ voting and engagement.

IDHE Director Nancy Thomas said the historic numbers are “nothing short of stunning.”

“That students, often younger and first-time voters, turned out at rates commensurate with the general public is nothing short of stunning,” Thomas said in a statement.

“We attribute this high level of participation to many factors, including student activism on issues such as racial injustice, global climate change, and voter suppression, as well as increased efforts by educators to reach students and connect them to the issues and to voting resources,” she added.

In a November analysis, Tufts University reported that young voters played a central role in solidifying President Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential race, with people ages 18 to 29 breaking for the Democratic nominee in the key swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Tags college students Joe Biden Voter turnout Voting Youth vote
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