AUSTIN (KXAN) — The kids are alright, at least when it comes to turning out to vote.
An analysis of youth voter turnout from Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), shows voters aged 18-29 rose 8% in participation from the 2016 election.
Despite a tendency to be dismissed or disparaged by older Americans, CIRCLE estimates that 49-52% of young people participated in the election — and say the final tally could reach up to 56%. For comparison, only 28% of young people voted in the 2018 midterms.
And these voters overwhelmingly preferred now President-Elect Joe Biden to current President Donald Trump — this was especially crucial in battleground states.
According to CIRCLE, in Michigan 62% of this age group supported Biden, an estimated 194,000 votes. In Georgia, Biden received an estimated 188,000 more votes than Trump courtesy of the youth. These numbers are relatively echoed in Arizona and the highly critical state of Pennsylvania.
Even before Election Day, data shows that over 10 million youth cast early and absentee ballots.
Young people of color supported Biden in majorities between 73 and 87% — highest among Black youth — while support among white youth is only a 51% majority.
CIRCLE put together an interactive map showing what the U.S. would look like if only young people voted and the results are staggering: Biden would win 33 of 50 states.
And voters from younger generations are only ever going to increase — and as evidenced above, they are wildly different than their parents and grandparents.
Millennials and Gen Z now outnumber Boomers — and they’re less impressed by older generations
The two-word retort that rose to fame on social media in 2019 is a crystallization of younger generations’ thirst for taking power from older Americans who have called the shots for decades.
August analysis from the Brookings Institution showed that 50.7% of U.S. residents are under the age of 40, at least as of July 2019. That equals to about 166 million Millennials, Gen Z or younger Americans to 162 baby boomers, Gen X and older Americans.
“To many Americans — especially baby boomers themselves — this news may come as a shock. For them, the term “millennial” has been associated with a youthful, often negative, vibe in terms of habits, ideology, and politics,” said William Frey, a Brookings senior fellow.
Coupled with Millennial and Gen Z’s trend to be more liberal, this collective also tends to be more diverse. Frey says that among those Americans younger than 40, almost half identify as part of a racial or ethnic minority. This diversity likely contributes to these voters’ tendency to be more passionate about reforms in the criminal justice system and race relations.
And unlike previous generations, younger Americans are less inclined to respect their elders by giving respect merely based on age.
Younger generations’ disdain for older, more conservative mentalities is typified by the “Ok boomer” catchphrase, as the retort is generally meant to signal humorous mocking and dismissal of the other person as out of touch and stuck in their ways.
John Kelly, a senior research editor at Dictionary.com explained to NBC News: A ‘boomer’ [in this case] is an older, angry white male who is shaking his fist at the sky while not being able to take an insult. They have close-minded opinions, are resistant to change — whether it’s new technology or gender inclusivity — and are generally out of touch with how their behaviors affect other people.”
So where does younger Americans weariness of older Americans come from?
In addition to politics, the role of older Americans in the 2007-2009 Great Recession may be a root. The perception by many in younger generations is that Boomer and Gen X financially thrived at the expense of reckless financial decisions that condemned them to poor employment opportunities, staggering debt and unstable markets.
Countless studies show the Millennials in particular were hit, and continue to be hit, the hardest by the recession’s consequences — and it’s widely theorized they’ll likely end up being the first generation in modern history to end up poorer than their parents.
Economic reporter at the Washington Post, Andrew Van Dam says “Millennials will bear these economic scars the rest of their lives, in the form of lower earnings, lower wealth and delayed milestones, such as homeownership.”
And now, younger generations are facing the COVID-19 economy.
Adding to the blame, is Boomers equal disdain for younger generations: Millennials are often characterized as coddled, infantile adults. Gen Z are knocked for their willingness to speak up against injustice — which many older Americans may see as imposed “PC culture.”
Gen Z’s refusal to bow down to older generations, especially those in power, can be displayed in the 300% rise in streams of rappers YG and Nipsey Hussle’s “FDT” on Saturday. The 2016 song also hit number 1 on iTunes shortly after Biden’s victory.
You can likely figure out what “FDT” stands for.