Baby Boomers Outnumbered by Younger Voters at Polls During 2018 Midterms

May 29, 2019 by Dan McCue

Baby boomers were outnumbered by younger voters at the polls during the 2018 midterms, continuing a trend first documented in 2016, the Pew Research Center said on Wednesday.

The study, based on newly available Census Bureau data, found that voters ages 18 to 53 in 2018 — a group that includes Millennials, Generation Xers and members of Generation Z — cast 62.2 million votes on November 6, 2018.

This compared to 60.1 million votes cast by baby boomers and older generations.

Pew’s researchers said this wasn’t the first time the younger generations outvoted their elders — the same pattern occurred in the 2016 presidential election.

The study also found that younger voters are showing up at the polls in greater numbers.

For instance, Millennials and members of Generation X together cast 21.9 million more votes in 2018 than in 2014.

A total of 4.5 million votes were cast in 2018 by Gen Z voters, all of whom turned 18 since 2014.

By comparison, the number of votes cast by boomer and older generations increased 3.6 million.

Even this modest increase is noteworthy, since the number of eligible voters among these generations fell by 8.8 million between the elections, largely due to higher mortality among older generations.

The analysis also looked at turnout rates.

The researchers found that in 2018, the turnout rate that increased the most was among Millennials, roughly doubling between 2014 and 2018 – from 22% to 42%.

Among Generation Z, 30% of those eligible to vote (those ages 18 to 21 in this analysis) turned out in the first midterm election of their adult lives.

And for the first time in a midterm election, more than half of Gen Xers reported turning out to vote.

Millennials, ages 22 to 37 in 2018, cast 26.1 million votes, far higher than the number of votes they cast in 2014 (13.7 million).

Generation X, those ages 38 to 53 in 2018, cast 31.6 million votes – the first time they had more than 30 million votes in a midterm election.

Their turnout rate also increased, from 39% in 2014 to 55% four years later.

Baby Boomers, those ages 54 to 72 in 2018, had their highest-ever midterm election turnout (64%, the same rate as the Silent Generation) and cast more votes than they ever have in a midterm

The Silent Generation comprises a group born between 1925 and 1942 and who now range from their the 70s to their early 90s.

Overall, Boomers cast 36% of ballots in last year’s election – their lowest share of midterm voters since 1986 – while the younger generations are still growing due to naturalizations and adults turning 18.

2018 Midterms

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