Increase the proportion of the voting-age citizens who vote — SDOH‑07 Data Methodology and Measurement

About the National Data


Baseline: 53.4 percent of US citizens 18 years and older reported voting in the federal, state, and/or local November election in 2018

Target: 58.4 percent

Number of US citizens 18 years and older who reported voting in the November national elections in Congressional election years.
Number of US citizens 18 years and older.
Target-setting method
Percentage point improvement
Target-setting method details
Percentage point improvement from the baseline using Cohen's h effect size of 0.10.
Target-setting method justification
Trend data were evaluated for this objective but it was impossible to project a target because the trend was not in the desired direction. A percentage point improvement was calculated using and Cohen’s h effect size of 0.1. This method was used because due to external influences, the Healthy People 2030 Subject Matter Experts viewed this as an ambitious yet achievable target.


Methodology notes

Voting and Registration data have been collected biennially in the November Current Population Survey (CPS) since 1964. The statistics presented are based on replies to survey inquiries about whether individuals were registered and/or voted in specific national elections. For the purpose of these estimates, election types are considered to be either Congressional (e.g. 2002, 2006, etc.) or Presidential (e.g. 2004, 2008, etc.). Only congressional election type estimates are presented for SDOH-07.

The voting-age population includes a considerable number of people who are not eligible to vote despite meeting citizen and age requirements. In addition, some people are not permitted to vote because they have been committed to the penal system, mental hospitals, or other institutions, or because they fail to meet state and local resident requirements for various reasons. The eligibility to vote is governed by state laws – legalities that differ from one another in many respects.

People who are not United States citizens are not eligible to vote.

Over the years, changes have been made to the Voting and Registration supplement. The only constant is that in all iterations of the survey a separate question has been included regarding both voting and registration. In some years (1982, '84, '86, '90) these were the only questions asked. In other years, additional questions were included. For example, in 1984, respondents were asked a total of six questions, two of which concerned the time of day that a respondent voted. Similarly, in 1988 respondents were asked if they had registered for that election specifically.

The Voting and Registration supplement has remained relatively consistent since 1996. In that year, respondents were asked specifically whether or not they registered to vote after January 1st, 1995. This allowed analysts to directly assess the influence of the National Voter Registration Act (or The Motor Voter Act). In 2004, the Census Bureau stopped asking specifically about this date, but the supplement continues to gather information on whether respondents were registered to vote and by what means this registration occurred.


Revision History

This objective was recategorized from research objective SDOH-R02 to a core objective in 2023.

1. Effect size h=0.1 was chosen to correspond with 10% improvement from a baseline of 50%.