Millennial and Gen X voters edged out older generations in 2016 vote

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Millennials and Gen-Xers now have more voting power than older Americans, study finds

Younger Americans are going to be a voting force to be reckoned with soon.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Jul 31, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:08 pm CDT

Millennials and Gen-Xers outvoted older generations for the first time in the 2016 election, according to an analysis by Pew Research Center.

The younger generation of voters cast 69.6 million votes in the 2016 general election—a slight majority over the 67.9 million votes cast by older Americans, the organization found. The shift comes as millennials continue to become a growing percentage of voting-age members of the electorate.

Millennial voters jumped from 18.4 million votes in 2008 to 34 million during the last election, Pew found. Gen X’ers cast 35.7 million votes last year. Pew believes that millennials will out-vote their older generation counterparts during the 2020 election.

Despite younger Americans turning out more in the 2016 election, they still did not put their preferred candidate in office. President Donald Trump earned 37 percent of the millennial vote compared to Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton‘s 55 percent, Bloomberg reported.

Pew defined millennials as people ages 18 to 35 in 2016 and Gen-Xers as people who were 36 to 51 at the same time.

The growing influence of millennial voters is likely to cause shifts in upcoming elections. Pew found that millennial voters are more likely to describe themselves as independents but align more with Democratic ideals than older generations. In 2016, 55 percent of all millennials identified as Democrats or Democrat-leaning independents, according to Pew, while just 33 percent identified as Republicans or right-leaning independents.

Millennial voters are also less religious than older Americans, which could make faith-based campaigns for politicians more difficult in the future.

It shouldn’t be much of a shock that millennials and Gen-Xers are outvoting older generations of Americans. As more and more younger Americans reach voting age, more older Americans are dying off. The Baby Boomer generation vote peaked in 2004, Pew found, with 50.1 million votes.

You can read all of Pew’s findings here.


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*First Published: Jul 31, 2017, 4:33 pm CDT