The 2015 federal election saw a stunning surge in youth participation. Turnout increased from the previous election in 2011 by nearly 40% among 18- to 29-year-olds—an unprecedented increase. Was this a turning point— the end of a decades-long slide in youth voter participation? Or was it just a one-off event? Has the youth moment in Canadian politics arrived? Or is it already over?
In time for the 2019 election, we’ve analyzed data from our biennial Citizens’ Survey to again capture a snapshot of youth political engagement in the lead-up to a federal election.
As before, the data confirm that beyond voting, young people are among the most active participants in Canada’s civic and political life. They talk about politics more than anyone, are present in the formal political sphere, respond through activism, and are leading their communities through civic engagement. Whatever happens at the ballot box, political leaders overlook the passion and engagement of young people at their own peril.
This report will examine differences across age groups in three areas of democratic participation: communication, formal political participation, and community civic engagement. We also reflect on how youth may participate in the 2019 election.