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 (55)
  • AkshayB-del
    10/23/2017 - 06:12 p.m.

    The topic is saying that Genx and Millennial voters cast more votes than other generations. People from 18-35 years old is that their voting participation tends to increase even from immigration and naturalization which will add to their numbers. Last year Gen Xers voted at 63 percent, while Millennials voted at 49 percent which is an OK amount.

  • David M-del
    10/23/2017 - 06:15 p.m.

    .

  • ChloeR-del
    10/23/2017 - 06:31 p.m.

    It is very significant that GenX and Millennial voters cast more votes than other generations. One reason is because they are more polarized. That means they take the election to the extreme. Another reason is that GenX and Millennial voters lean more to the Democratic party over the Republican party.

  • EmilyN-del1
    10/23/2017 - 06:48 p.m.

    It is important that younger generations such as Millennial and GenX vote more. It will bring more immigration and naturalization to the country. Also as people age their voting participation tends to increase because of this.

  • FranciscoL-del
    10/23/2017 - 06:54 p.m.

    This article states that Generation Xers and Millennials outvoted Baby Boomers and The Silent Generation and the Greatest Generation. Richard Fry, who is labor econimist at the Pew Research Center, says that this is the first time that Baby Boomers have been outvoted since 1984.

  • SamanthaM-del1
    10/23/2017 - 07:09 p.m.

    This Artice talk about the different ages of people voting. It says that out of 137.5 million vote casts, 69.6 million are over the age of 51. Eligible Gen X and Millenial 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.

  • NatalieH-del
    10/23/2017 - 07:13 p.m.

    The votes for Millennials and Generation Xers were huge. They had more votes than Baby Boomers and Silent Generation voters.

  • OlivierJ-del
    10/23/2017 - 07:31 p.m.

    There are more millennial and GenX people. The amount of millennials grows because of immigration

  • JaredI-del
    10/23/2017 - 07:47 p.m.

    we want younger people to vote

  • SarahT-del
    10/23/2017 - 08:06 p.m.

    Amazing that Gen Xers out-ruled the votes of most generations. Its significant that X's vote counts because it determines what we want for the future and a good sign we're getting in.

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