To main content

General elections, Electoral participation survey 2018

Analysis of voter turnout in the 2018 general elections

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2019-06-25 9.30

In the 2018 parliamentary elections, 87.2 percent of persons eligible to vote also chose to vote, which means that election turnout increased for the fourth consecutive election. At the same time, the analyses presented in a report indicate that although there is a high and rising level of voter turnout, this share varies between different groups in the population.

In a comparison of different population groups, differences in voter turnout emerge. On the whole, men and women vote to roughly the same extent. Voter turnout is just over one percentage point higher among women than among men – 87.8 percent compared with 86.5 percent. Young and older persons vote to a lesser extent than other age groups. With regard to sex and age, there are some clear gender differences – young women aged 18–29 years vote to a greater extent than young men; this difference is approximately 6 percentage points. The opposite applies among the oldest in the population. Among persons eligible to vote who are 75 years and older, men voted to a greater extent than women, which is also a difference of 6 percentage points.

Differences in voter turnout also emerge with regard to the level of education. In the 2018 parliamentary election, 95 percent of persons with post-secondary education voted, 88 percent of persons with upper secondary education, and 80 percent of those with compulsory education (refers to the age group 18–74 years). This means that voter turnout was 15 percentage points higher among those with higher education than among those with only compulsory education. This difference is at the same level as in the 2014 parliamentary election.

An analysis of voter turnout in other population groups also shows that there are clear differences. The share of persons voting is smaller among single persons and persons with lower incomes, while this share is larger among cohabiting persons and persons with higher incomes.

Voter turnout increased among both foreign born persons and Swedish born persons

Voter turnout among Swedish citizens in the 2018 parliamentary election differs by country of birth. In the 2018 parliamentary election, Swedish born persons voted to a greater extent than foreign born persons, 90 percent compared with 74 percent. Compared with the 2014 election, voter turnout increased among both foreign born persons and Swedish born persons to approximately the same extent, which means the difference in voter turnout by country of birth is unchanged from 2014. Among foreign born persons, voter turnout varies by country of birth, date of citizenship and length of residence in Sweden.

Voter turnout in municipal council elections increased among foreign citizens

Among foreign citizens with voting rights in county council elections and municipal council elections, around 39 percent voted in 2018. This is a considerably lower voter turnout than among Swedish citizens. However it is an increase compared to the 2014 municipal council election, in which voter turnout among foreign citizens was just over 34 percent.

Voter turnout among first-time voters increased

Voter turnout among first-time voters increased in the 2018 parliamentary election from 83 percent in 2014 to 86 percent in 2018. The difference in voter turnout compared with the rest of the population is two percentage points. Among first-time voters, there are differences with regard to the propensity to vote. Voter turnout among first-time voters who attend or have attended a study preparation programme in upper secondary school was higher than among those who attend or have attended a vocational programme. There are also clear differences in voter turnout between persons with Swedish and foreign background and depending on parents’ level of education.

Voter turnout and disability

Voter turnout among persons with disabilities is lower by six percentage points compared with the rest of the population. Mainly persons with impaired vision, reduced mobility, serious problems of anxiety, worry or dread, serious problems with dyslexia/dyscalculia, neuropsychiatric diagnoses or those who have health problems that greatly limit activity are those who vote to a lesser extent than persons without these impairments or problems. On the other hand, there is no discernible difference in voter turnout between persons with impaired hearing or serious problems with allergy and asthma compared with persons without these impairments or conditions.

Definitions and explanations

For the voter participation survey, the population consists of persons entitled to vote in the 2018 elections for parliament, county council and municipal council. The persons entitled to vote can be divided into three mutually exclusive categories:

  1. Swedish citizens who turn 18 years old by Election Day and are registered as living in Sweden.
  2. Swedish citizens living abroad who are included in the electoral roll. Swedish citizens living abroad who turn 18 years old by Election Day and who have been at some point registered as living in Sweden are entitled to be included in the electoral roll. Persons who have been registered as living in Sweden at some time in the last ten years are automatically included in the electoral roll. Swedish citizens living abroad who are not included in the electoral roll must apply to be included in the electoral roll. A vote submitted from abroad is also regarded as an application to be included in the electoral roll. An application to be included in the electoral roll by a Swedish citizens living abroad is automatically valid for ten years.
  3. Citizens in any EU Member State, Icelandic citizens, and Norwegian citizens who turned 18 years old by Election Day and who have been registered as living in Sweden for 30 days ahead of Election Day. Citizens of other countries who turned 18 years old by Election Day, and who have been registered as living in Sweden for three consecutive years ahead of Election Day.

In parliamentary elections, parts 1 and 2 are entitled to vote. In county council elections and municipal council elections, parts 1 and 3 are entitled to vote. However, Gotland is a municipality without a county council, which means that person who are registered as living in Gotland are not included in the population of persons entitled to vote in county council elections.

The 2018 voter participation survey was carried out as a total population survey for the first time since the 1940s, which means that statistics can now also be reported by county and by municipality. Statistics Sweden’s Statistical Database includes statistics on voter turnout in parliamentary elections, county council elections and municipal county elections presented by sex, age, country of birth, education and income for the whole country, by county and by municipality.

Publication

Next publishing will be

The Party Preference Survey (PSU) will be published on June 3, 2015 at 09:30.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Democracy Statistics

Address
Box 24 300
104 51 Stockholm
fax 08-506 947 72

Enquiries

Mikaela Järnbert

Telephone
+46 10 479 42 43
E-mail
mikaela.jarnbert@scb.se