Opinion

Why It’s Important For Millennials and Gen Z to Vote in the May 2019 Elections

Comelec data shows the youth make up majority of the registered voters in the country.
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Dr. Jose Rizal said it before: “the youth is the hope of our future.” There must be a reason why more than a hundred years after his death, these words are still often quoted to this day.

But it is particularly timely to revisit Dr. Rizal’s words in these times. The 2019 midterm elections will take place on May 13, during which the Filipino electorate will elect 12 senators, all Congress representatives, and all provincial, city, and municipal-level officials across the Philippines.

In a tweet on February 26, economist and Rappler columnist JC Punongbayan pointed out the potential role of the youth in the upcoming elections.

“Based on @COMELEC data, Millennials & Gen Z constitute MORE THAN HALF or 53.2% of all registered voters for #Eleksyon2019. Young Filipinos have a good chance of rooting out bad leaders & electing good ones, but ONLY IF we go out & vote on May 13. Make sure your vote counts!” Punongbayan wrote.

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The tweet was accompanied with a table of the number of registered voters in the Philippines categorized by age group and region for the 2019 national and local elections. The data came from the Records and Statistics Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Looking closely at the Comelec data, it indeed shows that more than half of the 61.8 million registered voters in the country belong to the two youngest generations: Millennials and Generation Z.

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Pew Research Center, a non-profit polling organization based in the US, classified demographics based on age by categorizing them into generations: the Silent (1928 to 1945), Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964), Generation X (1965 to 1980), Millennials (1981 to 1996), and Generation Z (1997 onwards).

(Due to limitations presented by the Comelec data, we made a few adjustments to the age groupings for the graph: Gen Z constituted those born from 1995, Millennials from 1980, and lumped the Baby Boomers and Silent into one group including those born in 1964 and older)

Millennials, or those who are aged 25 to 39 years old, constitute the biggest of the bunch at 37 percent (22.8 million). Eighteen to 24-year-olds or Gen Z, on the other hand, follows closely at 16 percent (10.1 million).

These numbers are important because the candidates with the most number of overall votes are elected in the Philippines. Comelec’s data suggests that the youth’s perception may dictate the results of the May elections, if only all of them go out and cast their votes.

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The electoral process in the country also requires officials to be elected at large, in contrast to voting by electoral districts. This means that regions with bigger voter populations may have a bigger effect on the results over smaller regions.

CALABARZON has the most number of registered voters among all regions in the country. The 4.6 million Millennial and Gen Z registered voters based in CALABARZON are already more than double of the entire voter population of regions II (Cagayan Valley), IX (Zamboanga Peninsula), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, IV-B (MIMAROPA), XIII (CARAGA), and Cordillera Administrative Region.

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It is also more than the total voting population of regions V (Bicol), I (Ilocos), VIII (Eastern Visayas), XI (Davao), X (Northern Mindanao), and XII (SOCCSKSARGEN).

Comelec’s data is in line with the latest data available from the Philippine Statistics Authority, which shows that the Philippines has a young population. Millennials make up 36 percent of the 101 million people in the country, while Gen Z make up 21 percent. These figures were for the year 2015.

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About The Author
Pauline Macaraeg
Esquire Philippines
Pauline is Esquire Philippines’ data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg.
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