Comparing College Student Voter Participation Rates by Race and Gender

A new report from the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, finds the voter participation by college students increased for the 2020 national election. The study found that of the more than 1,000 colleges and universities in this analysis, 97 percent of campuses saw an increase in 2020 voter participation compared to the 2016 general election.

Nationwide, 66 percent of college students cast ballots in 2020, up from 52 percent in 2016. More than 80 percent of college students who were registered to vote cast ballots. The survey found that 63 percent of all African American college students voted in 2020. In 2016, 53 percent of all Black college students voted. For Whites, 71 percent of all college students voted in 2020, up 15 percentage points from 2016.

When we break the data down by gender, we find that 66 percent of Black women college students voted compared to 56 percent of Black men. But Black men closed the gender gap with Black women compared to Black women from 2016. That year, Black women outvoted Black men by 15 percentage points

At historically Black colleges and universities, 63 percent of all students cast ballots in 2002. This was up 13 percentage points from 2016. At predominantly Black colleges and universities, 61 percent of all students voted in 2020. This was up 10 percentage points from 2016.

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