Elevate Millennials: Political engagement and Metro Vancouver millennials

Post Date


Vancouver B.C. (19 June 2018)


Three-quarters (76%) of Metro Vancouver millennials (a group aged 18-39 years) say they voted in at least one of the most recent federal, provincial, or municipal elections. Participation in provincial and federal voting is highest (66% and 62%), while just 37 percent of the region’s millennials have participated in municipal elections.

The survey, released for public education purposes, was conducted in May by Justason Market Intelligence with Elevator Strategy. The research finds that political engagement increases with age, from 63 percent among 18-24-year-olds (23% of whom were not eligible to vote in recent elections) to 85 percent among 35-39-year-olds. Political engagement also increases with formal education, from 43 percent among those with high school to 88 percent among post-graduates.

2017 Provincial election trends

  • Incidence of voting provincially increases with age, from just over half (55%) of 18-24-year-olds to three-quarters (74%) among those 35-39 years.
  • Similarly, provincial voter participation increases with education, from one-third (33%) of those with a high school education to over three-quarters (78%) of post-graduates.
  • Income predicts provincial voting, with those earning less than $50K least likely to have voted (47%), increasing to 81% of those earning more than $100K.

2015 Federal election trends

  • Women are significantly more likely to have voted federally in 2015 (67% to 56% among men).
  • As we find for the last provincial election, younger millennials (18-24 years) are least likely to have voted (43%), this level increasing to 73% among 35-39-year-olds.
  • Advanced education is not the same predictor of federal voting participation as for provincial voting patterns. Millennials with technical school, college or university or post-grad education are about equally likely to have voted in the 2015 federal election (59%, 65% and 65%).
  • Millennials of European ancestry are most likely to have voted in the last federal election (72%). Income predicts federal voting with 54 percent of those earning less than $50K having voted, increasing to 71 percent among those earning $100K or more.

2014 Municipal election trends

  • Women are significantly more likely than men to have voted municipally (42% to 32%).
  • Municipal voting increases with age, from 13 percent among 18-24-year-olds to 50 percent among 35-39-year-olds.
  • Education level is not a meaningful predictor of municipal election participation. Graduates of technical school, college or university, and graduate schools are equally likely to have voted in the last municipal election (39-40%). The exception is high school graduates 16 percent of whom voted municipally in 2014, about a quarter (23%) of whom were ineligible.
  • Municipal election participation increases with income from 29 percent among those earning less than $50K to 50 percent among those earning more than $100K.
  • Millennials of European background are more likely than those of other backgrounds to have voted in the last municipal election (47% to the 37% average).


The plurality of millennials (43%) describes themselves as “liberal” when it comes to most political matters, including 14 percent, “very” liberal. Three-in-ten (28%) describe themselves as centrist, while one-in-ten (11%) say they are “conservative”. Two percent are “very” conservative.

While the largest group of Metro Vancouver millennials consider themselves “liberal” on most political matters, there are demographic and regional trends that help predict these leanings.

Who is more likely than others to describe themselves as LIBERAL on most political matters?

  • Women (47% to men at 38%)
  • City of Vancouver (49% to Richmond at 28%). Notably, one-in-five City of Vancouver and North Shore millennials consider themselves “very” liberal (21% and 20% to the 14% average).
  • Post graduates (56% and decreasing with education to 32% of high school-educated millennials)
  • Millennials of European background (50% to 33% of East Asian background)

Who is more likely than others to describe themselves as CONSERVATIVE on most political matters?

  • Richmond millennials (25% to 10% among City of Vancouver millennials).
  • Millennials of East Asian background (18% to the 11% average).
  • Millennials earning more than $100K (21% to 9-11% among those earning less).

Who is more likely than others to describe themselves as CENTRE on most political matters?

  • Men (33% to 22% among women)
  • Middle-income millennials earning $50-$100K (35% to 20% among those earning less than $50K and 27% among those earning more than $100K).


The vast majority of Metro Vancouver millennials (87%) say it’s important to them to live in a country that is democratically governed, including 64 percent who deem democratic governance “very” important.

While the vast majority of all groups examined considers democratic governance important, we note some demographic differences in the Metro Vancouver millennial population:

  • City of Vancouver millennials are more attached to being governed democratically than their North Shore and Richmond counterparts (90% to 71% and 79% respectively). Notably, belief that democratic governance is “unimportant” rises to nearly one-in-five (18%) Richmond millennials.
  • As education and income increase, so does attachment to democratic governance:
    • Among those with a high school education, 77 percent believe democratic governance is important, this level increasing to 94 percent among post-graduates.
    • In terms of intense sentiment, 58 percent of millennials earning less than $50K feel democratic governance is “very” important, increasing to 71 percent among top earners (more than $100K).


When it comes to the future of the planet, Metro Vancouver’s millennials, 18-39 years of age, are almost as likely to be pessimistic as optimistic (48% and 44%).

Optimism for the future of the planet is highest among those residing south of the Fraser (54%) and those of South Asian and Southeast Asian background (67% and 66%).

Pessimism is highest among:

  • Older millennials, 35-39 years (56% to 39% among 18-24-year-olds).
  • Millennials of European and East Asian backgrounds (58% and 53% to the 48% average).


Most Metro Vancouver millennials (79%) believe they can, at least in theory, make a difference to the issues facing society and the planet. However, just 31 percent say they can “absolutely” make a difference.

Education is a factor in belief that “one person, like you” can absolutely make a difference. Nearly half (46%) of millennials with a post-graduate education believe they can “absolutely” make a difference (to 29-31% among those with less formal education). We note similar confidence that one person can make a difference those of South Asian background (44% to the 31% average).

For more information contact:

Peter ter Weeme, Elevator Strategy
+1 250 616 9950 / peter@elevatorstrategy.com

Barb Justason, Justason Market Intelligence
+1 604 783 4165 / Barb@JustasonMI.com

About Elevator Strategy
Elevator Strategy is a full-service, Canadian-owned, purpose-driven communications firm at the epicentre of Vancouver’s thriving, digital technology hub. Elevator uses proven communication and training techniques along with emerging technologies to cultivate and propel the higher purpose of clients.

About Justason Market Intelligence Inc.
Justason Market Intelligence Inc. is a Vancouver-based market and social research firm asking the right people the right questions and delivering epiphanies. Justason offers the complete range of survey research and qualitative methodologies, all with personal service only possible with a boutique firm. The firm owns and operates Vancouver Focus®.

View data tables here.

Research Notes

These are selected results of a Justason Market Intelligence online survey of Metro Vancouver millennials, age 18-39 years. The survey, released for public education purposes, was conducted by Justason Market Intelligence in partnership with Elevator Strategy, May 10-14, 2018 among randomly selected pre-recruited panelists. The Justason Market Intelligence panel is recruited by random digit dialling (RDD). The research design oversampled some groups to permit independent analysis. This unweighted non-probability sample of 648 was weighted to 500 and normalized to the actual gender, age, and regional distributions of the current census (2016). A probability sample of 500 carries a margin of error of +/-4.4 percentage points 95 percent of the time. 

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