Voter turnout refers to the proportion of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election. Women have registered and voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980, with the turnout gap between women and men growing slightly larger with each successive presidential election. Women, who constitute more than half the population, have cast almost 10 million more votes than men in recent elections. For more detailed analyses and research from CAWP scholars, see our Women Voters and the Gender Gap page.
Data are from the U.S. Bureau of the Census Current Population Reports, Series P-20, "Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1964" and subsequent reports for all years through 2018. These figures are from post-election responses to supplementary questions in the monthly Current Population Survey for a sample of households in November of each election year. Respondents to the survey report their own voting activity and that of other members of their household. The sample systematically over-reports both voting and registration by several million people. In years prior to 1996, the questions used to determine citizenship measures were asked in different ways, and the U.S. Bureau of the Census advises some caution in direct comparison across these years.
To directly access the data presented in graphical format below, please download the following Excel file:
Women are registered to vote in the U.S. at higher rates than men. In recent years, the number of women registered to vote in the U.S. has typically been about 10 million more than the number of men registered to vote.
In every presidential election since 1980, the proportion of eligible female adults who voted has exceeded the proportion of eligible male adults who voted. In all presidential elections prior to 1980, the voter turnout rate for women was lower than the rate for men. The number of female voters has exceeded the number of male voters in every presidential election since 1964. The gender gap in the turnout rates and numbers tends to narrow in non-presidential election years.
In recent elections, among Asians/Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, and white voters, the number of women voters has exceeded the number of male voters. The gender gap in voter turnout rates is the largest for Black voters. Women have also voted at higher rates than men among Hispanic and white voters in all presidential elections since the 1980s. Among Asian/Pacific Islander voters, there is no consistent gender gap in voter turnout.
Among citizens ages 18-64, a higher proportion of women than men have turned out to vote since the mid-1990s when the Census began collecting this data. The gender gap tends to be particularly large among voters ages 18-44. This pattern is reversed among older voters (65 and up). Male voters tend to turnout at higher rates than women voters in this age cohort.
Among citizens with less than a 9th grade education, men tend to have slightly higher turnout rates than women. In the past several election cycles, among those with a 9th to 12th grade education, high school graduates, and those with some college or an associate's degree, women tend to vote at higher rates than men. In recent elections, the gender gap among the most educated citizens, those with a bachelor's or advanced degree, is nearly non-existent.
Gender gaps in voter turnout differ in direction and magnitude across citizens with different marital statuses. Among married men and women, there was almost no gender gap in voter turnout in the last few election cycles. Among the divorced and those who have never been married, women tend to have higher voter turnout levels than men.