Press release no. 01/22 of 26. Januar 2022

2021 Bundestag Election: greater turnout of young voters

Results of representative electoral statistics released

WIESBADEN – As in former Bundestag elections, representative electoral statistics have been compiled for the election to the 20th German Bundestag that was held on 26 September 2021. Representative electoral statistics can be used to analyse the voting behaviour, namely the voter turnout and the votes cast, by sex and year of birth group. 1,844 polling districts and 715 postal ballot districts were sampled for the representative electoral statistics on the 2021 Bundestag Election. This means that approximately 1.9 million eligible voters were included in the sample.

Voter turnout of 21 to 29 year olds up by 3.9 percentage points

The voter turnout was 76.6 %, which was a slight increase compared with the 2017 Bundestag Election (76.2 %). The largest group of voters (80.2 %) were those aged 50 to 59 years. The by far largest increase in voter turnout, however, was recorded for 21 to 29 year olds, whose share rose by 3.9 percentage points. In contrast, participation by voters aged 70 or over was slightly below average and thus confirmed the trend observed since the 2017 Bundestag Election.

47.3% of voters cast their votes by post

“The 2021 Bundestag Election was characterised by a much higher rate of postal voting than ever before. 47.3 % of voters cast their votes by post,” said Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel. Overall, more women than men applied to vote by post. The largest groups of postal voters were those aged 60 or over and 25 to 29 year olds. 18 to 20 year olds accounted for the smallest number of postal voters.

Further results of the representative electoral statistics on the 2021 Bundestag Election:
  • Older people have gained in influence. In the 2021 Bundestag Election, 39 % of the voters were aged 60 or over. This was 3 percentage points more than in the previous Bundestag Election. However, the proportion of people aged 30 to 59 declined by 2 percentage points to 47% and that of the 18 to 29 year olds by 1 percentage point to 14 %. 
  • The GRÜNEN, SPD, CDU and CSU were elected by more women, while the AfD, FDP and DIE LINKE were elected by more men. 
  • The SPD, CDU and CSU obtained the highest proportions of votes among voters aged 70 or over. 34.2 % of the voters of this age group cast their second vote for the SPD, 30.8 % for the CDU, and 7.6 % for the CSU. The AfD mobilised an above-average voter potential of between 10.7 % and 14.1 % among the 35 to 69 year olds, whereas the party was much less successful among the youngest and oldest voters. The FDP and GRÜNEN again were especially successful among the 18 to 24 year olds.
  • Compared with the 2017 Bundestag Election, the CDU, CSU, DIE LINKE and AfD recorded losses in all age groups, while the GRÜNEN obtained more votes in all age groups and the SPD in all groups with the exception of young and first-time voters.

The Federal Statistical Office has published the representative electoral statistics on the 2021 Bundestag Election as an analysis of voting behaviour by age group and sex. The results are based on the votes actually cast, and not on information subsequently provided by voters, which is the method used, for example, by electoral research institutes. This is why representative electoral statistics are among the most important data sources for empirical electoral research.

Results of the representative electoral statistics are contained in issue 4 “Wahlbeteiligung und Stimmabgabe nach Geschlecht und Altersgruppen” of the publications series of the Federal Returning Officer on the 2021 Bundestag Election. The issue is available for download as a pdf file from the website of the Federal Returning Officer at: → Bundestag election 2021 → Publications

Data in CSV format can also be downloaded for further analysis from: → Bundestag election 2021 → Results → Representative electoral statistics

There the Federal Returning Officer’s brief report on the representative electoral statistics is also available for download.


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