Congressional Districts with the Youngest and Oldest Voters
by Wade Bruffey
Demographics paint a statistical picture of the place they measure. All these numbers and figures combine to help predict the types of people you might meet and things you might see -- everything from lots of good ethnic food to how politically active citizens tend to be.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, states are proportionally represented based on population. Each state is broken into a corresponding number of congressional districts, 435 in total. The constitution mandates that each district have similar populations, a number which hovers around 700,000 today. This is to ensure fairness and equality across all districts, and therefore equal representation for every citizen.
While they are similar in population and drawn to prevent minority vote dilution, the age of voters in each district varies widely. To find out what significance the age of voters in a given district might have, FindTheHome analyzed American Community Survey data from 2014's 5-year rolling estimates to rank each district by median age. Then, we used GovTrack.us data to find the current party affiliation of each district. Combining this information with Graphiq visualizations, we analyzed the potential factors behind the median age in these districts and did some original research to find out what impact age might have on voters. Considering our findings alongside studies from the U.S. Census Bureau, Pew Research Center and Gallup, we discovered that median age may have an impact on political participation throughout congressional districts.
Oldest Congressional Districts
Analyzing our data, we observed that Florida dominates the nation's top 10 oldest congressional districts, ranking 1st through 8th oldest in the nation.
As a popular spot for retirees from the East Coast and Midwest, Florida has a significantly higher percentage of their population over age 65 than the U.S. average. Thus, the high median age throughout Florida's congressional districts is relatively unsurprising.
Regardless of its beaches and temperate weather, Florida's age demographics are remarkably skewed -- as our ranking of youngest congressional districts shows, no state is featured as prominently.
Youngest Congressional Districts
On the opposite end of the spectrum, California, Texas and Utah take up nine of the top 10 youngest congressional districts. Utah's Congressional District 3 is the youngest in the nation, with a median age of just 27.6 years old. California is the most featured state in the top 10 with four districts, followed by Texas with three and Utah with two.
Though California arguably earns the label of millennial utopia, claiming eight districts in the top 20 youngest, the age makeup of its districts isn't as disproportionate as Florida's.
Marriage frequency and cost of living in these states may also help explain trends towards younger congressional districts. In Utah, more than half the population is married and the percentage of citizens who have never been married is lower than the national average. Higher marriage frequency may indicate that future generations of voters are more numerous in such states.
Finally, the lower median age in congressional districts may be influenced by cost of living and avaliable lifestyle. Desirable metropolitan living in Texas tends to be much more affordable for young people than in other areas of the country.
States such as Montana and Wyoming are referred to as "districts at-large". The seven district-at-large states have just one statewide district because population is too low to split -- doing so would result in overrepresentation of these citizens. In district-at-large states, median age hovers around the average of all districts: 37.6 years old.
Impact and Analysis
Many studies have shown that as people age, their political preferences tend to become more conservative. One Gallup poll found that GOP candidates are significantly more popular with Americans in their 40s and above. Interestingly, there seems to be little correlation between the political orientation of congressional districts and the median age of voters in them.
However, age does impact other political behaviors, such as voter turnout rates.
Statistics show that younger people are significantly less likely to vote, even in presidential elections.
Though young people are less likely to vote, a trend towards higher engagement does seem to be materializing. One study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that voting rates among 18-24 year olds in the 2008 presidential election was the highest it had been since the 1976 election.
Factors such as cost of living and available lifestyle may be correlated to median age in congressional districts. However, it does not appear that median age can be used as a predictor of a congressional district's party preference. Whether a red state or a blue state, median age speaks volumes about how a district interacts with government. Studies show that older citizens are more actively engaged in politics, and that younger ones are less likely to vote. Median age of a district could contribute to whether people there are likely to participate, or not. Nonetheless, turnout trends indicate that as the people in these districts age, they too will participate more readily.
More AMERICAN POLITICS ...
- Clinton Regains Lead
- How Much Candidates Spent Per Vote
- Tim Kaine Cheat Sheet
- Mike Pence by the Numbers
- Americans Divided on Bathroom Bill
- Clinton's Stubborn 75 Percent Chance Finally Dips Following Email Revelations
- The 2016 Democratic Convention by the Numbers
- The 2016 Republican Convention by the Numbers
- Trump's Fundraising Turnaround: June Marked Best Month So Far
- Trump Captures His Largest Lead So Far in Polls
- Trump Pulls Ahead of Clinton in Key Swing States
- Donald Trump and America B
- House Sit-In Would've Been More Powerful if It Rejected 'No Fly, No Buy'
- Clinton's Foreign Policy Poses a Challenge to the Left
- Hillary Wants to Bring Back Bill. She Shouldn't
- The Real Reason Republicans Are Going after the IRS
- ISIS Must Love Trump
- Can Trump Ride the Anti-Immigration Wave to the White House?
- Trouble for Donald Trump's Campaign
- America's Most Followed Members of Congress
- Hillary Clinton's Major Foreign Policy Address Was Anything But
- Donald Trump Down in the Polls After Rough Week on the Trail
- There's No More Denying It: Trump Is Openly Racist
- Donald Trump: Joker's Wild
- After Orlando: Twitter Recoils from Islamophobia, Takes Aim at Gun Laws
- How Much Blame Should Hillary Clinton Bear for Libya?
- Countries That Receive the Most Foreign Aid From the U.S.
- Hillary Clinton Secures Democratic Nomination
- Welcome to Half Dome, Sponsored by Nike
- Companies Need to Stop Bankrolling Hate
- For Billionaire Donors, Academic Integrity Comes Cheap
- America's Cosmic Tax Gap
- Trump's 'Realty Check' on Climate
- Putin and Trump: Symptoms of Creeping Caesarism
- Obama Promised Open Government, But Hasn't Delivered Yet
- A Coalition of the Unhinged
- Putting Free Speech Out to Pasture
- The Only Sane Conclusion from Orlando
- Orlando Shooting Fuels Debate on Gun Control
- They're Killing Us. Help Us Stop Them
- A Commencement Address for the Most Indebted Class Ever
- Our Poverty Myth
- Which States Have Banned Assault Weapons?
- Government Agencies that Spend the Most
- The Government Agencies that Employ the Most People
- Odd Ways Political Campaigns Spend Their Money
- Congressional Districts with the Youngest and Oldest Voters
- Trump Nabs First Lead Against Clinton in Poll
- Bernie's Bucks: Sanders' Fundraising and Spending Prowess in 5 Charts
- Clinton Holds Razor-Thin Lead
- Doling Out the Dough for Pro-Clinton Super PACs
- States with the Most Women in Politics
- Do First Ladies Influence the Popularity of Baby Names?
- Counties Where Medicare Spends the Most per Patient
- We Live in a Democracy, Not a Theocracy
- Is Trump an American Exceptionalist?
- Sanders vs Clinton on Economic Inequality
- Nine Lessons for Navigating National Security
- Trumped Up Alliances?
- Big Money in Politics Drives War
- Why Clinton Supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trump Does Not
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the 2016 US Presidential Election
- Obama: The Conflict Resolution President?
- Bernie Sanders Still the 2016 Fundraising Champ
- Inequality Will Get Worse Until There's a Revolution
- Crime Can Pay if It's Big Enough
- Political Campaigns May Put Your Personal Data at Risk
- Fear, Anger and Attitudes Toward Immigration
- The New (Anti-)Secularism
- Clinton, Trump Poised for Northeastern Sweep on Tuesday
- Trump's Bad Ideas Aren't Un-American After All
- The Death Gap
- Why Trump Is No Longer a Safe Bet
- 22 People, $43 Million: The People Congressional Districts with the Youngest and Oldest Voters
- It's Literally Impossible to Deport 11 Million Immigrants
- Here's What a Budget That Prioritizes Peace Looks Like
- Does the Military Support Trump?
- Where Are the Wealthiest Voters?
- How the Pentagon Wastes Your Money
- This Election, We Can't Afford to Ignore the Climate
- The Children's Crusade
- When Islam Polices Extremists
- Hillary Clinton's State Department Armed Saudi Arabia to the Teeth
- Free From Jail, Imprisoned by Debt
- American Cities Most at Risk of Zika Virus
- Operation Paul Ryan
- What Trumpism Means for Democracy
- Trump Opens Floodgates of Hate
- Missing in Action: Political Reality and Leadership
- Give 'Tax and Spend' a Chance
- Donald Trump: Foreign Policy's Useful Idiot?
- When Red Tape Is a Good Thing
- Trump Holds Strong Lead in New York, Clinton-Sanders Race Tightens
- These States Give the Most Money to the Presidential Race
- The Most Influential Presidential Power Couples
- The Most Influential First Ladies
- Wall Street Should Pay a Sales Tax, Too
- Cruz, Not Trump, Has Shot to Beat Clinton
- Republicans Who Really Don't Like Donald Trump
- What Would Nancy Reagan Say?
- The Humpty Dumpty Party
- What Are Trump's Values -- and America's?
- Primary Trends: Media Goes Crazy, Bettors Yawn
- Most Liberal Members of Congress
- Most Conservative Members of Congress
- 25 Facts About Abraham Lincoln
- 25 Facts About John F. Kennedy
"Congressional Districts with the Youngest and Oldest Voters"