Facebook accounts among 18-year-olds twice number of voting registrations
Watchdog voices concerns after analysis of data reveals 3% dip in number of those turning 18 who are on electoral roll
A watchdog has renewed concerns about young people failing to take part in elections after research suggested almost twice as many 18-year-olds use Facebook than are registered to vote.
However, analysis of electoral roll data from hundreds of council areas by credit information firm Experian found the total number is falling.
Despite the overall number of adults registered to vote rising by 0.8% to 47.5 million, only 520,000 of those turned 18 in 2011, just over 3% fewer than those in that group in 2010, it said.
That compares with an estimated 1.05 million 18-year-olds with Facebook accounts.
A commission spokeswoman said: “The low voter-registration rate among young people is very concerning. Our own research, published earlier this month, showed that only 56% of 19-24-year-olds and 55% of 17- and 18-year-olds are on the electoral register.
“Each year the Electoral Commission runs public awareness campaigns to encourage people to register. Young people are an important group to target which is why social media has become an increasingly important platform for these campaigns.”
Jonathan Westley, managing director of Experian’s consumer information services business in the UK, said the data “underlines why it’s important that organisations adopt new technologies to better serve this section of the population”.
He added: “It is also vital to educate this demographic on the importance of registering to vote and explore how social media engagement could be part of this.”