Daily factoid: People over 50 will cast half the votes next month

As the midterm election approaches, one thing is already clear: Boomers and seniors will have a disproportionate impact on the results, whatever the results may be.

I spent an hour parsing the data on recent elections, paying particular attention to voting patterns by age of voter. I expected to find older citizens are more likely to vote than younger ones. But even I was surprised by the extent of the differences in young vs. old voters.

After the 2012 elections—obviously a presidential election year—the U.S. Census Bureau gathered data from 50,000 households and broke down the ages of people who reported that they had, in fact, voted.

According to the Census Bureau, about 46% of people under 44 actually voted. The group of people between 45-64 (let’s call that the Boomers) were far more likely to vote—almost 68% of them voted. And senior citizens were even more likely to vote—almost 70%. 

Of the cohorts supplied in the Census Bureau’s dataset, 18-24 year olds are the least likely to vote. There are a variety of reasons for that, including that age group’s high mobility. People 65-74 were the most likely voters, with voting rates dropping slightly for people over 75; that drop’s likely explained by the oldest voters’ difficulty in actually getting out to the polls.

But wait, that was a presidential year. If you’ll pardon the pun, it turns out younger voters are far less likely to, ah, turn out for midterm elections. In the last midterm election (2010) voters under 30 were less than half as likely to vote as those 30 and older.

What does this all mean? Half the votes cast next month will be cast by people over 50.