Rant by Mason Johnson
Adults (if that’s the word you want to use) between the ages of 18 and 24 suck.
I am, of course, talking about voter turnout. This isn’t something we didn’t already know. By now, the lack of turnout by young voters has come to be expected.
And yet I’m still disappointed by it. Why? (For the record, I am a millennial and fall into the 25 to 34 age range.)
Though they may not know it, 18-to 24-year-olds have a lot on the line, especially when you consider that many of them are currently accruing huge debt in college or attempting to build their careers. With job creation a key focus in this election and the future of programs like the Monetary Award Program (grants for college kids) constantly in jeopardy, you’d think they’d be paying attention.
But they aren’t.
To be fair, not all individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 suck.
Only about 93% of Chicagoans between 18 and 24 suck, because that’s the percentage of adults in that age range who couldn’t find the time to vote (the other 7% are super cool, like me, I’m super cool). Yes, even with the brand spanking new Illinois voting privileges, which include early voting and same-day voter registration, the nation’s youth couldn’t get off their butts to vote (I’m starting to sound like my dad, which is all your fault 18 to 24-year-olds).
By comparison, only 61% of Chicagoans between 55 and 64 suck.
That means 39% of Chicagoans age 55 to 64 were able to get out to the voting booths and cast a vote. Compare that to the 7% of Chicagoans age 18 to 24 who just so happened to find the time to vote (between their busy schedules of surfing Tumblr and listening to that rap music I hear everyone talking about), and I won’t blame ya if you get a little angry.
For some perspective, according to the Census Bureau, there are about 297,271 adults in Chicago between 18 and 24 and 267,544 adults in Chicago between 55 and 64. Even with a larger population, the 18–24s still brought 80% FEWER bodies to the polls than the 55 to 64s.
Chicagoans between 65 and 74 outdid both groups. Though they are the smallest population group, they brought over three times the amount of people out to the polls than 18-to 24-year-olds. Sure, they only brought out 73,051 individuals, which is less than the 104,795 brought out by the 55 to 64s, but that’s 47% of the 65–74 population (compared to 55 to 64’s 39%).
If 39% — instead of 7% — of voters age 18 to 24 voted, that would have been a total of 115,936 votes — that’s an added 95,113 votes. Considering there was only about a 170,000 vote difference between Rauner and Quinn, that’s a fairly substantial number.
What are we gonna do about these kids?
Voter turnout by age group:
18–24: 20,822 (7% of 18-to 24-year-olds voted)
25–34: 72,470 (14%)
35–44: 81,939 (22%)
45–54: 96,426 (28%)
55–64: 104,795 (39%)
65–74: 73,051 (47%)
75+: 48,041 (37%)
Total number of voters: 497,544
(The Sun-Times has interactive graphs, in case you need something a bit more flashy…)
Chicago population by age group:
18–24: 297,271 (11% of population)
25–34: 510,766 (18.9%)
35–44: 381,047 (14.1%)
45–54: 340,511 (12.6%)
55–64: 267,544 (9.9%)
65–74: 154,040 (5.7%)
75+: 129,718 (5.8%)
Total Population: About 2,080,867 voting adults in Chicago