YAFS5 highlights initial results on youth votes
About one in every five Filipino voters is aged 18-24, making them a force to be reckoned with in the 2022 elections.
This is among the findings highlighted by Dr. Elma P. Laguna of the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) in her presentation of preliminary results from the 2021 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS5), during a virtual forum on electoral participation last April 21, 2022.
Attended by more than 40 Zoom participants and broadcasted live on Facebook, the forum entitled ‘Ang Balota at ang Masa: May Pag-asa Pa Ba?’ was the first in the discussion series PERSPEKTIB: Interdisiplinaryong Talakayan ng Mga Isyung Napapanahon, organized by the UP College of Social Sciences and Philosophy and the Philippine Social Sciences Review, in partnership with the UP Department of Political Science.
In her presentation entitled ‘Navigating Adulthood in Uncertain Times: Election, Pandemic and the Promise of Youth Votes,’ Dr. Laguna provided an overview of the profile of Filipino youth, their voting intentions, key milestones in life, and attitude on several social issues.
Based on preliminary results of the YAFS5, 78.3% of the youth who will be aged 18-24 by election day already registered as voters at the time of the survey; 13.7% wanted to register before the official deadline last year, while 8.0% expressed that they had not registered and had no intention to register at all. Among registered voters or those who intended to register, 94% will be voting in the national and local elections on May 9.
Despite such high political engagement, however, results from the YAFS5 revealed that today’s generation of tech-savvy youth remains relatively conservative, with less than half of the youth in favor of common-law marriage, abortion, same-sex union, and divorce. Dr. Laguna, however, noted that there is relatively high support for divorce and that a majority of the youth support government provision of contraceptives.
The forum underscored the advantage of a population perspective in analyzing sociopolitical issues. UPPI Director Dr. Grace T. Cruz and YAFS5 project coordinator Dr. Maria Midea Kabamalan also answered questions from the audience concerning the survey and population processes such as migration. Meanwhile, in reaction to Dr. Laguna’s talk, UP political science professor Dr. Sol Iglesias noted that the voting behavior and social views of the youth can drive a high voter turnout, as well as reflect the landscape of electoral discourse today.
“The kind of generally socially conservative attitude among the youth […] leads me to remark that the positions that the national candidates have been taking in this election when it comes to abortion, marriage equality, and divorce…these candidates have done their homework,” Dr. Iglesias said.
In the last three rounds of the survey, the YAFS series has been shedding light on and tracking the attitude of the youth towards various social issues, including contraceptive use, marital arrangements, and abortion.