Millennials Could Decide The 2016 Election — But Here’s Why They Won’t

Published May 19, 2016
Updated January 18, 2018
Published May 19, 2016
Updated January 18, 2018
Millennials Vs. Baby Boomers

Scott Olson/Getty Images

A new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data has revealed that Millennials now equal Baby Boomers as the largest group in the U.S. electorate.

Just last month, Pew research found that Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S., in terms of population. Their new study confirms that approximately 69.2 million Millennials (those under 35 as of 2016) are now of voting age, compared with 69.7 million Baby Boomers, as of April 2016 (the difference of half a million, for these purposes, is negligible).

This means that each group now makes up 31 percent of the U.S. electorate, well ahead of Generation X (ages 36-51, at 25 percent) and the Silent/Greatest Generation (ages 71 and up, 12 percent).

Of course, Millennials are poised to pass all of these groups — including the Baby Boomers, whose representation in the electorate has been declining for over ten years — in short order.

So, congratulations, Millennials, the country is yours. But what will you do with it?

Voting Generations Graph

While Millennials now share the largest percentage of the U.S. electorate, they aren’t actually getting out and voting at nearly the same rates as other generations.

Less than half of eligible Millennials voted in 2012, compared with over two-thirds of Baby Boomers and even more from the Silent/Greatest Generations.

Now, as we prepare for the 2016 election, news site after news site is speculating how Millennials might swing the results.

But, as Pew points out, unless the percentage of Millennials that turns out to vote rises significantly (at least 12 percent more than turned out in 2012), Millennials won’t have much of an impact on this election — or at least not nearly the impact they could.

And that impact could be enormous. A recent Harvard poll revealed that Millennial voters prefer one of the presumptive presidential nominees over the other by a huge margin. I’d tell you which one, but it probably doesn’t matter.

Next, see why you can’t blame Millennials for starting the selfie trend.

John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the Managing Editor of All That Is Interesting.