Millennials and Generation Xers are officially the largest voting block, overtaking the votes of baby boomers and other older Americans, Pew Research Center reported on Monday.
“Millennials and Generation Xers cast 69.6 million votes in the 2016 general election, a slight majority of the 137.5 million total votes cast, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data,” the Pew article said. “Meanwhile, Boomers and older voters represented fewer than half of all votes for the first time in decades.
“The shift has occurred as Millennials accounted for a growing share of the electorate and as those in the Silent and Greatest generations aged and died,” Pew reported.
Millennials — defined generally as those who were 18 to 35 years old in 2016 — cast 34 million votes last November, a huge increase from the 18.4 million votes they cast in 2008, according to Pew.
Millennials, however, are still not as big as the Gen Xers — ages 36 to 51 in 2016 — who cast 35.7 million votes in 2016.
But, “It is likely, though not certain, that the size of the Millennial vote will surpass the Gen X vote in the 2020 presidential election,” Pew reported, noting that the Millennial generation as a whole is larger than Gen X (both in absolute size and in the number of birth years it spans).”
Pew also said that the Millennials are growing faster than older generations due to immigration, which Pew predicts will make it the fasting growing age demographic.
Younger voters are also more liberal.
“The ascendance of the Millennial vote is noteworthy because Millennials are more likely to be self-described independents, but they also are more Democratic than older generations in their political preferences,” Pew reported. “Among Millennials, 44% were independents in 2016, compared with 39% of Gen Xers and smaller shares of Boomers (31%) and members of the Silent Generation (23%).
“At the same time, Millennials lean to the Democratic Party to a much greater degree than other generations,” Pew reported.
In 2016, 55% of all Millennials said they were Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents, while just 33% identified as Republicans or GOP-leaning independents. A smaller percentage — 49% in Generation X, 46% of Boomers and 43% of members in the Silent Generation — were or leaned Democratic.
On the issues, Millennials take more liberal positions than those in older generations, for example, on marijuana legalization and gay marriage.