This report discusses declining voter participation in recent Presidential elections. The report places recent declines in historical perspective by examining voter participation in each of the Presidential elections from the early days of the country to the present time. In addition, it presents demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of nonvoters, reasons why so many people do not vote, and descriptions and evaluations of means proposed or adopted to help increase voter participation.
Tables show voting participation data classified by such information as rates of participation before and after universal suffrage, registration status by selected socioeconomic characteristics, and reasons for not voting or registering. Charts depict the percentages of the population who voted or did not vote in Presidential elections for selected years.
Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.