More young people are likely to cast ballots in the upcoming election than in the 2011 vote, according to a Statistics Canada report released on Wednesday.
In a survey on political participation and civic engagement of youth in 2013, about 47 per cent of people aged 15 to 19 said they were "very likely" to vote in the next election. The report included youth who were ineligible to vote in 2011, but can vote in the Oct. 19 election because they have now reached the age of 18.
About 38 per cent of all eligible youth aged 18 to 24 voted in 2011, according to Elections Canada.
To address the voter turnout rate for youth, pop-up polling stations were opened at 39 postsecondary campuses across the country from Oct. 5 to 8 for people to vote using a special ballot, Elections Canada spokesman Dugald Maudsley said.
The pilot project's goal was "to make it more accessible for students on campus to be able to vote in advance or to go and register," he said.
Elections Canada did not have the number of young people who have used the polling stations so far.
The Statscan report said 32 per cent of youth aged 15 to 19 were considered politically inactive – not likely to vote in the upcoming election and did not participate in any political activities – compared with 26 per cent in the 20-to-24 age category.
University-aged youth aged 20 to 24 showed the most engagement among the groups in political activities. They had the highest participation of all groups in signing petitions and participating in demonstrations and marches.
The report also looked at the same demographic who were eligible to vote in 2011 but did not exercise that right. One in six people (17 per cent) in the 20-to-24 demographic said they did not vote because they were not informed on issues. The report says a lack of following news and current affairs regularly contributed to this result.
Statscan looked at how the 20-to-24 cohort received their news and current affairs. In 2013, 52 per cent watched TV, 42 per cent read newspapers, 40 per cent listened to radio and 13 per cent read magazines. Aside from these mediums, 83 per cent went to the Internet to read their news. This cohort used the Internet the most out of all other age groups.
For people aged 45 and over, television remained the most popular media use in 2013. The Internet was the most popular medium for people aged 15 to 44, with television in second place. Magazines were used the least for news in all cohorts with the exception of the 75 and older category, where the Internet was used the least.
The report said the trends do not mean that youth are not interested in social and political issues since the 15-to-24 demographic was as likely as their older counterparts to take part in marches or demonstrations. The 15-to-19 cohort was the most involved in non-political activities, compared with the older groups, taking part in group activities at least once a week.
The data for the report were taken from the 2003, 2008 and 2013 general survey sources.