Hall of Shame: The neighborhoods with the worst Philly millennial voter turnout (also the best)

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Voter turnout during the Philadelphia mayoral primary, especially among millennials, was pretty abysmal. Even in the voting ward with the highest millennial voter turnout in the city — ward 39 in South Philly — just 23 percent of young people showed up at the polls, still short of the 38 percent of baby boomers who voted citywide.

The Office of City Commissioner Al Schmidt provided Billy Penn with a breakdown of the voter turnout for ages 18 to 34 in each ward in Philadelphia for the mayoral primary election. In total, only 12 percent of registered millennials turned out to vote in the May mayoral election, meaning millennials make up the largest group in the electorate, but the smallest group who actually showed up. Here’s a reminder of what that looks like:

voter turnout graphic

Created by Office of City Commissioner Al Schmidt

Among the worst voter turnout in the city was the University City area, specifically wards 24 and 27, which logged voter turnouts of 4 and 6 percent, respectively. Schmidt explained this to The Inquirer last month when he pointed out that college-aged students will often register to vote in their new area when they come to school, but the city doesn’t necessarily register it when they leave town. That leaves University City with more than 20,000 registered millennials; less than a thousand showed up.

The highest millennial voter turnout percentages seemed to come in South Philadelphia, especially in Pennsport and East Passyunk. Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze voters also turned out higher than average. Other areas of high(er) voter turnout among young voters were Cedar Park and West Mt. Airy. About 15 percent of millennial voters came to the polls in Fishtown and Fairmount areas, but turnout was lower in Center City.

From Rittenhouse Square to Market East, Old City and Northern Liberties, voter turnout among 18 to 34 year olds hovered around 10 percent. Some of the lowest turnout came along the North Broad Street corridor in North Philly, where less than 10 percent of young people came out to cast their votes.

These bad rates of young people in Philly actually showing up on election day is consistent with what we know: Millennials really aren’t into voting in mayoral elections. A Knight Foundation report found that millennials routinely didn’t vote in municipal elections because they didn’t think there was enough trustworthy news coverage of local elections and because they were confused about how city government works.

We’ve put together a map of each voting ward in Philadelphia. Darker shades of blue mean higher millennial voter turnout, while lighter shades correlate with lower millennial voter turnout:

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