The Millennial Generation
I am a Baby Boomer, born in 1950. My daughter is a Millennial, born in 1989 (the extreme young end). So you can imagine how interested I was to read this story at the Center for American Progress:
It’s a “New Progressive America” out there, as I argued in my recent Center for American Progress report, with a new demography and a new agenda. The new demography refers to the array of growing demographic groups that have aligned themselves with progressives and swelled their ranks. One of the most important of these growing demographic groups is the strongly progressive Millennial generation, whose demographics, voting behavior, and policy preferences are covered in detail in my new CAP report with David Madland, “New Progressive America: The Millennial Generation.”
Between now and 2018, the number of Millennials of voting age will be increasing by about 4 and a half million a year and Millennial eligible voters by about 4 million a year. And in 2020, the first presidential election where all Millennials will have reached voting age, this generation will be 103 million strong, of which about 90 million will be eligible voters. Those 90 million Millennial eligible voters will represent just under 40 percent of America’s eligible voters.
Last November’s election was the first in which the 18- to 29-year-old age group was drawn exclusively from the Millennial generation, and they gave Obama a whopping 34-point margin, 66 percent to 32 percent. This compares to only a 9-point margin for Kerry in 2004. Behind this striking result is a deeper story of a generation with progressive views in all areas and big expectations for change that will fundamentally reshape our electorate.
Of course, I had to immediately call my daughter and find out if she knew this, because in addition to being a Millennial, she has strongly progressive political views. Among other things, she was part of the wave of college students who went down to Virginia over Election Day to get out the vote for Obama:
Millennial Daughter: Hi!
Boomer Mom (not bothering to return greeting): Did you know that you are a Millennial?
BM: You’re part of the Millennial Generation. I’m a Baby Boomer. You’re a Millennial.
MD: Ummm, oookay….
BM: I guess you didn’t know it! Okay, let me read you something.
[BM reads first three grafs of CAP article, quoted above.]
[From MD, there is silence, then stifled laughter.]
BM: So, what do you think about that?
MD: Weelll, it’s interesting… But I don’t really believe in this generations thing. I think it’s kind of a huge generalization to say people think a certain way because of their generation.
BM (deflated, but speaking in a bright voice so as not to show it): Oh, okay! So what are you up to right now?
You know what, though? In my secret heart, I still am excited that my daughter is part of this cool generation of Millennials who helped to make history on November 4, 2008.