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    Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey

    Civic engagement and political participation in Canada

    Highlights

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    Civic engagement

    • In 2013 nearly two in three Canadians were members or participants in a group, organization or association (65%), up slightly from 2003 (61%).
    • From 2003 to 2013, the increase in the rate of participation in groups was twice as high for women (up 6 percentage points) as for men (up 3 percentage points).
    • The level of civic engagement varied by province. In 2013, 58% of Quebeckers were members or participants in a group, compared with 66% of Ontarians and 73% of British Columbians.
    • In 2013, 78% of university degree holders were members or participants in a group, compared with 41% of those without a high school diploma.
    • Among people aged 25 to 64 years, 59% of recent immigrants were participants in a group, compared with 63% of established immigrants and 67% of non-immigrants.
    • The three types of groups in which Canadians were the most likely to participate were sports or recreational organizations (31%), unions or professional associations (28%), and cultural, educational or hobby organizations (20%).
    • While 7% of those aged 25 to 64 years whose personal income was $80,000 or more were members of or participants in a political party or group, this was true of 3% of those whose personal income was less than $40,000.

    Political participation

    • In 2013 the proportion of those aged 25 to 34 years who reported having voted in the last federal election was 70%, compared with 92% of seniors aged 75 years and over.
    • Among those aged 25 to 34 years, voter turnout in the 2011 federal election ranged from 55% among those with a high school diploma to 81% among those with a university degree. The corresponding rates among seniors aged 65 to 74 years were 92% and 95%.
    • Among those who had not voted in the last federal election, 14% of young adults aged 25 to 34 years reported that the main reason was that they were not informed on the issues. By comparison, the proportion was 3% among those aged 55 years and over.
    • In 2013, 21% of those with a university degree took part in a public meeting, compared with 12% of those with a high school diploma and 9% of those without a high school diploma.
    • In 2013, 71% of respondents who had no confidence in the Canadian media reported having voted in the last election, compared with 81% of those having a higher level of confidence in the Canadian media.
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