Factors associated with voting

By Sharanjit Uppal and Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté

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Voting rates increased with both age and education. However, the education effect was much stronger among young voters, such that the difference in voting rates between 18- to 24-year-olds and 25- to 34-year-olds disappeared after controlling for education and other factors.

Among family types, single parents with young children were the least likely and couples with no young children the most likely to vote.

Home owners had significantly higher voting rates than renters.

Overall, immigrant citizens were less likely to vote than the Canadian-born, but voting rates generally increased with time in Canada. Voting rates were highest for immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Conversely, immigrants from East Asia, West Central Asia and the Middle East had the lowest voting rates.

Residents of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec had higher-than-average voting rates while Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Manitoba had rates below the national average.

Employed people were more likely to vote than the unemployed or those not in the labour force, after controlling for other factors.

Looking only at the employed, those working in the public sector or in high-skill occupations were the most likely to vote. Voting rates were lower for those working 40 hours or more per week and in less-skilled occupations.

Since Canadian voting rates fell in the 1990s and voting in recent American presidential elections has increased, a long-standing gap between Canadian and American voting rates has closed. Trends in the United Kingdom were similar to those in Canada, but their voting rates remained above those of their North American counterparts in most election years.

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