Happy Election Day!

Kendal has the reputation of having a Democratic-leaning population (and the facts back that up—see below) but it is also a very tolerant place. In my two years at Kendal, I have not encountered any partisan conflict. By and large, I don’t think we know much about each other’s politics, and that’s as it should be.

In a world that is full of name-calling, I’m grateful we don’t have to deal with that here. Thus, it is with a certain amount of trepidation that I bring up the topic of party registration in this blog. I’m not doing it to make a partisan point; rather I’m doing it because voter registration data is a treasure trove of demographics, one that can tell us quite a bit about our community.  

I recently downloaded the file of Chester County registered voters to see what it said about Kendal.  (It is available to the any Pennsylvania resident who is doing election- or voter-related research.) It is a very large file. A total of 368,879 people in Chester County are registered, out of a 16-and-over population of 421,901.

To focus in on Kendal, I selected only those with a “Kendal Drive” address.  In part, I was curious to see how well Kendal’s voter registrations matched its reputation as a Democratic-leaning community. But I also knew that other information in the file (birthdate, gender, and address) would probably reveal interesting facts about Kendal’s voter population.

We’re diligent voters. I found that almost everyone here is a registered voter. Specifically, there are 390 registered voters. By comparing the list with the corresponding entries in “Who’s Here”, I found that there were just 17 non-voters, some of whom are new arrivals who will eventually transfer their registration here.

Overwhelmingly, then, we Kendal residents are registered voters. Not only do we register to vote, we actually vote. Of the 390 registered, 361 (93%) voted in 2020.

One consequence of our high frequency of registration is that the following analysis of Kendal’s registered voters is also an analysis of the vast majority of Kendal residents. It should be noted, however, that some of the figures would be changed if non-registered residents were included.

In what follows, I will use the term “voters” to mean “residents who are registered to vote”, whether or not they have recently (or ever) voted.

I used the “Who’s Here” directory to determine dates of arrival.

Party registration. True to our reputation, we skew heavily Democratic. Out of the 390 of us who area registered to vote, 302 (77%) are registered Democrats. 54 (14%) are Republicans, 10 (3%) are Independents, and 24 (6%) don’t have a party preference. Kendal women are slightly more likely to be Democrats (79%) than men are (71%).

All of us, regardless of registration, usually vote. In the 2020 election, 283 of 302 Democrats (94%), 48 of 54 Republicans (89%), and 30 of 34 others (88%) voted.

Age and gender. The figure below shows the age and gender breakdown for Kendal voters, with females to the left, males to the right, and the oldest at the top. It is immediately apparent that there are far more females (71%) than males (29%). Our ages range from 68 to 102, with most of us clustered within 10 years of age 85.

Age and gender of Kendal voters. The oldest voters (age 102) are at the top and the youngest (age 68) are at the bottom. The red bars represent the number of women and the blue represent the number of men at each age.

Resident arrivals. The chart below shows how many voters arrived in each year from 2010 through 2020. There is a huge spike of 72 arrivals in 2012, due to the opening of the new duplex cottages. Apart from that year (and the two slow years that followed in its wake), we have been getting 25-35 new people each year. 2020 was lower than usual (23 new people), but still I think that’s a remarkably high number, given the pandemic.

Note that this chart only includes those who are currently registered voters. Some residents who arrived in these years have died or have been removed from the voting rolls for other reasons, so they don’t appear in this chart.

Year of arrival for registered voters. The spike in 2012 resulted from the opening of the new duplex cottages.

In the next blog post, I will continue analyzing the voter data, looking in more detail at couples vs. singles, new-cottage residents, and the residents of Cumberland and Westmoreland.