As those of you who read our monthly newsletter with regularity know, we frequently rely upon statistics from Cheryl Nelson of “Demographics Now” to clarify data from the United States Bureau of the Census. Although we disagree with her on the precise age definitions of “generations”, we do value her insight on Census data.
Ms. Nelson expects 71 percent of citizens of the so-called Baby Boom generation to cast votes in the 2016 federal election, over one-third of overall voters. These older voters (age 50 to 70) tend to be greater participants than other age groups, particularly the younger Millennials in their 20s and 30s. They are the children of Baby Boomers, but do not necessarily share their parents’ voting choices. However, these two parent and child groups constitute over 60 percent of all voters.
She expects 15 percent of voters to be older Americans beyond age 70, and almost 20 percent of the relatively low birth-rate Generation X’ers in their 40s.
Millennials born during the last fifth of the 20th Century are the nation’s largest generation, with almost 80 million members, but only about half of them are projected to vote. An estimated 2.2 million originated from in-migration, during the same period as older Americans declined due to higher mortality rates (a topic for another blog).
The continuing problem for presidential candidates again this year is that these different age groups not only present differing sets of values, but frequently present conflicting values. A candidate vowing to support a specific issue of a particular age group may well cause a negative reaction by others of the same age group. Thus, selecting the most supportive issues has become an increasingly complex problem. Mathematics is only part of the success formula, as many otherwise intelligent candidates have learned too late in the process.
We wish all of the candidates success during this expensive display of American wealth. We can wish only that a fair share of the expense could be directed toward helping those who are in genuine need.
Dr. David Forster Parker
For more information, contact Dr. David F. Parker
or go to our web site at www.parkerassociates.com