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Millennials And Generation Xers Outvoted Older Generations For The First Time In 2016 Election

Photo by Valerie Hinojosa/Flickr.

The 2016 election didn’t just see a huge shift in power from the Washington establishment to an outsider in Donald Trump, there was a generational shift as well. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, for the first time in American history, millennials and generation Xers cast more votes combined than the total of baby boomer and older generations.


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Gen X and millennials cast 69.6 million votes versus 67.9 by baby boomers and older generations. Although millennials (those ages 18 to 35 in 2016) made up a larger portion of the American population than gen Xers (ages 36 to 51 in 2016), they cast 1.7 fewer votes in 2016. But according to Pew, millennials are likely to eclipse gen Xers in votes cast in 2020. “Millennials are growing faster than older generations due to immigration, which is likely to be accompanied by increased naturalizations,” Pew’s study said. “As a result, millennials are likely to be the only adult generation whose number of eligible voters will appreciably increase in the coming years.”

The increase in voters aged 18 to 51 and the drop in baby boomers at the polls signals a big change in the country’s political makeup. Now, the technological revolution of the past two decades holds greater sway over the voting public than the cultural revolution of the ‘60s. It also signifies an increase in voters without hard-set political affiliations. Among millennials, 44% are independent, compared to 39% of gen Xers and 31% of baby boomers. The younger generations are also more liberal. In 2016, 55% of millennials identified as Democrat or Democrat-leaning independents, versus 49% of gen Xers and 46% of baby boomers.

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