New Jersey Youth Voter Turnout Tripled in 2018 Midterm Election

Rutgers’ Center for Youth Political Participation Attributes Increase to Higher Education Support of Voter Mobilization Programs


Press Release: Monday, June 4

Media Contact: Gabriella Morrone, , 848-932-8809


New Brunswick, N.J. — Last year’s impressive increase in youth voter turnout in New Jersey and nationwide may reflect higher education institutions’ support of programs to register voters and get them to the polls, according to the Center for Youth Political Participation (CYPP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers—New Brunswick.

CYPP’s analysis is in response to new data released by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), which found that youth voter turnout in New Jersey (the percentage of U.S. citizens aged 18-29 who cast a ballot) increased from 11 percent in the 2014 midterm election to 33 percent in the 2018 election. The CIRCLE report ranks New Jersey second in the nation, among the 42 states studied, for the largest increase in youth voter turnout.

“The New Jersey youth voter turnout rate tripled from 2014 to 2018. This increase certainly reflects the fact that the 2018 midterm races were more competitive, but it also reflects national trends that show an increase in political participation and engagement among millennials and Generation Z,” said CYPP director and Rutgers University associate research professor Elizabeth C. Matto.

“CYPP plays a role in many higher education initiatives across the state that emphasize the importance of youth political participation, bringing the topic to the forefront of college campus conversations. In our view, the increase in youth voter turnout in the Garden State may be attributed to higher education support of youth civic engagement and campus voter registration and get-out-the-vote programs,” Matto said.

The CIRCLE data also found that in a majority of states, including New Jersey, the increase in youth turnout exceeded the increase in turnout among the general electorate.

“As New Jersey’s top election official, I am thrilled that our youngest voters are turning out at much higher rates than they did even just four years ago. Our democracy depends on each generation embracing this most sacred civic responsibility, and I know New Jersey is in good hands when we have so many young people who are eager to participate in the political process,” said New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way.


The Center for Youth Political Participation celebrates and supports political learning and engagement among young people through research, public service and education, driven by the potential impact of the “Millennial Generation” on American democracy.

The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University—New Brunswick explores state and national politics through research, education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. The Institute focuses attention on how the American political system works, how it changes, and how it might work better. To learn more about Eagleton programs and expertise, visit

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has an internationally acclaimed faculty, 12 degree-granting schools and the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse student body.