Mapping Voter Turnout by Neighborhood: High Homeownership Rates = Higher Voting Rates

Tomorrow is Election Day. With get-out-the-vote efforts in full swing across the nation, what might turnout look like across our local DC neighborhoods? Not spectacular, if the last general election is any indicator. Citywide, less than a third of registered voters cast a ballot in 2010 (not a presidential election year). Turnout varied across neighborhoods, but in all neighborhood clusters fewer than half of adults who were registered turned out on Election Day.

Higher voter turnout tends to indicate greater civic engagement, which is a good quality for any neighborhood, but especially one with children. For our 2012 DC KIDS COUNT e-Databook, we analyzed a wide array of data by neighborhood cluster, including election data, looking at how our neighborhoods are doing for the children who live there. Neighborhoods are the places where children grow, play and learn to be citizens. Strong neighborhoods, with engaged citizens, will help build the next generation of our city.

In 2010, outer edges of the city tended to have higher turnout, particularly, as this map shows, in upper Northeast and Northwest and parts of Southeast. The neighborhood cluster containing Colonial Village, Shepherd Park and North Portal Estates had the highest participation, at 46%, more than twice the rate of the lowest voting neighborhoods.

What the map does not show is how voter turnout correlates with other indicators of neighborhood and child well-being. Interestingly, the neighborhood with the highest turnout in the city also has the highest homeownership rate, and higher homeownership tends to correlate with greater voter turnout across District neighborhoods. The neighborhoods with higher turnout (above 35%) are in all parts of the city—they are neighborhoods with both high child poverty and low child poverty. Of those high-turnout neighborhoods, some are majority black, some majority white and others more racially diverse.

Regardless of which neighborhood you live in, we hope you go out and vote tomorrow, in both our national and local elections! See you at the polls.

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