Since the foundation of the United States, voting has been seen as the cornerstone of freedom. This makes participation in this civic activity a measure of governmental fitness and legitimacy. So how does iGen, the generation with America’s youngest voters, feel about voting?
In the most recent study from The Center for Generational Kinetics on iGen’s Political and Civic Outlook, we found that nearly half of iGen (47%) say voting is important. And while compared to other generations, this may seem like a death knell to American democracy – particularly when compared to Baby Boomers, of which 73% said voting is important – it’s crucial to understand that the vast majority of this generation is still comprised of youths who don’t yet drive, earn taxable income, pay any of their own bills, and nearly all of them are still in school!
This is what makes iGen’s 47% remarkable. Nearly half of iGen still view voting as important even without the real-world experience that often lends value to the act of voting. If voting is important to them now, we anticipate it being much more so in the future.
And for the other half of iGen that sees voting with neutrality or even as being unimportant, we have yet to see if getting an education and entering adulthood will increase their perceived importance of voting. This is especially possible considering the impact that policy decisions have on events like obtaining permits, buying a home, running a business, paying taxes, or making any sort of trek through the legal system…rites of passage iGen has yet to come across.
This is extremely significant for our future as citizens and for the country as a whole. As iGen grows up and starts to participate in many of the adult functions that are affected by governmental policies, it’s likely that their perceived importance of voting will increase. For right now, close to half of iGen already sees voting as important even though the most aren’t yet able to vote which bodes well for the future of representative democracy.
The majority of iGen is still in school, can’t drive, and doesn’t yet pay any taxes. These and other passages into adulthood may eventually have some influence on the voting views and behaviors of this generation. The fact that 47% of this generation says voting is important even without real-world experience may actually be encouraging.
Get the most surprising findings from the report on iGen’s Political and Civic Outlook here.