Gen Xers and Millennials out-voted older generations in 2016 Voting booths at the National Museum of American History. (Mr. Gray/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons)
Gen Xers and Millennials out-voted older generations in 2016
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The number of Millennials and Generation Xers who cast votes was big. This was for the 2016 election. It was more than the number of Baby Boomers and Silent Generation voters. And it was more than the Greatest Generation voters. This is the first time this happened. That's according to Reid Wilson at The Hill. 

That age shift in voting power will continue in future elections. That's according to a report put out by the Pew Research Center. It is likely to reshape the political landscape of the United States in coming decades.

Out of 137.5 million votes cast, 69.6 million came from voters under the age of 51. That's according to the study. Voters in the older generations cast 67.9 million votes.

The switchover is an inevitable part of demographics. Richard Fry is a labor economist at the Pew Research Center. He tells Wilson that Baby Boomers have been the most numerous voters since 1984. 

Baby boomers are those born roughly between 1946 and 1964. They remained the largest block of voters in 2016 with 48.1 million voters. That represents 35 percent of the electorate. This number was down 2 million from a peak of 50.1 million Boomer voters. That was in 2004. As the oldest Boomers reach their 70s, their numbers will continue to decline.

Millennials are defined by the study as those between the ages of 18 and 35 in 2016. They will continue to grow as part of the electorate for two reasons. 

First, immigration and naturalization will add to their numbers. 

Second, as people age their voting participation tends to increase. 

The Greatest or Silent Generation had a 70 percent voting participation rate last year. Boomers voted at 69 percent. Gen Xers voted at 63 percent, while Millennials voted at 49 percent.

The study reports that the shift in the electorate has political implications. For instance, 55 percent of Millennials identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents. But only 33 percent identified themselves as leaning toward the GOP. That is the Republican party. Millennials tend to hold more liberal social views.  

Danielle Kurtzleben works at NPR. She reports that this change in ideologies doesn't necessarily provide a clear political forecast. Other studies show that Millennials are more polarized than other generations. They identify more with extremely conservative or extremely liberal positions. More Millennials also self-identified as conservatives at high school graduation. That’s compared to both Baby Boomers and Generation Xers at the same age.

Kurtzleben points out that one of the most surprising aspects of the study. She notes that it took this long for younger voters to take center stage. There are currently 126 million eligible Gen X and Millennial voters versus 98 million Baby Boomer and older voters. That's according to Pew.

Eligible Gen X and Millennial voters were roughly equivalent to Baby Boomer and Silent Generation votes in 2012. While 70 percent of the older generations turned out that year, younger voters only turned out at 53.9 percent. They cast fewer total votes.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is it significant that GenX and Millennial voters cast more votes than other generations?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (54)
  • WilliamF-del
    10/23/2017 - 03:54 p.m.

    The voting power is changing. If certain groups provide more votes the results will not always be fair. The problem might get worse because another group of people who are voting might get the person they favor

  • PedroM-del1
    10/23/2017 - 04:59 p.m.

    It is significant because if all don't vote (and that's a lot of people) then only a small number of people will vote which is not completely accurate for the nation.

  • ReesePratt-del
    10/23/2017 - 05:05 p.m.

    The main idea of the story is about the different generations of voters.
    The Millennial and Gen X voters are starting to be the biggest percentage of voters. As the Baby Boomers become older, their percentage of voters is going down.

  • JadeR-del
    10/23/2017 - 05:18 p.m.

    It is significant that GenX and Millennial voters cast more votes than other generations because because it will "reshape the political landscape in coming decades." This is very important because depending on who votes and how many people vote is can change the politics in coming decades in so many ways!

  • EthanG-del1
    10/23/2017 - 05:28 p.m.

    Other generations may have different beliefs than young people nowadays.

  • PriscillaD-del
    10/23/2017 - 05:48 p.m.

    This article was about the Gen Xers and the Millennials and how they out-voted older generations in 2016. The number of Millennials and Generation Xers who cast votes was big, (this was for the 2016 election). It was more than the number of Baby Boomers and Silent Generation voters; and it was more than the Greatest Generation voters. This is the first time this happened.

  • ZofiaT-del
    10/23/2017 - 05:48 p.m.

    The main idea of this article is Baby Boomer voters. As it says in the article there are less and less of their votes each year. The decreasing number is because of their age.

  • CadenceG-del
    10/23/2017 - 05:53 p.m.

    Millennials are defined by the study as those between the ages of 18 and 35 in 2016. They will continue to grow as part of the electorate for two reasons. First, immigration and naturalization will add to their numbers. Second, as people age their voting participation tends to increase. This was very interesting to me.

  • JuliaA -del
    10/23/2017 - 05:55 p.m.

    The main idea is how significant GenX and Millennial voters cast the most votes out of the other generations. It showed i one election that people under 51 voted more and shows that that the Millennial generation is more polarized than any other.

  • AngelinaB-del
    10/23/2017 - 06:12 p.m.

    This article is about how Gen-Xers and Millennials out-voted older generations in 2016. Out of 137.5 million votes, 69.6 million came from voters under the age of 51 and 67.9 came from voters of older generations. Millennials are considered to continue to grow because of immigration adding to the number of votes and "as people age their voting participation tends to increase." According to Danielle Kurtzleben,"there are currently 126 million eligible Gen X and Millennial voters versus 98 million Baby Boomer and older voters."


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