31 December 2022

The millenial generation is NOT becoming more conservative as they age

It has been a truism since forever that young people are liberal/progressive, but they shift to conservative values as they age.  
The pattern has held remarkably firm. By my calculations, members of Britain’s “silent generation”, born between 1928 and 1945, were five percentage points less conservative than the national average at age 35, but around five points more conservative by age 70. The “baby boomer” generation traced the same path, and “Gen X”, born between 1965 and 1980, are now following suit.

Millennials — born between 1981 and 1996 — started out on the same trajectory, but then something changed. The shift has striking implications for the UK’s Conservatives and US Republicans, who can no longer simply rely on their base being replenished as the years pass.
Discussion continues at the Financial Times.  And relevant commentary in this Guardian op-ed.


  1. I wonder if the more conservative with age trope is actually a resistance to any change, which seems to be a common human trait.
    See, been telling you those millennials can't do anything right.
    Now git offa my lawn ya whippersnappers.

  2. I believe it is well established that education correlates with liberal political viewpoints, while accumulation of wealth correlates with conservative. The general graph seems to indicate that our (rather educated) populations are liberal early in life, but as wealth accrues (and education stops), political stances become more conservative. My conjecture is that Millennials are the first generation in a hundred years that has failed to amass any appreciable wealth by their 40s; as a result, there is no significant pressure toward conservative viewpoints.

  3. While the previous generations all have grown up in relative quiet and prosperous times, the current generation has grown up with war, an economic collapse, a pandemic, climate change, and is multiracial enough to be done with racism.

    They see that their elders have wasted their money on racist wars, bailed themselves out while gutting education funding, let people die in a pandemic by refusing to wear a mask, utterly refuse to do anything at all about climate change, while continuing to be racist.

    Why, exactly, would they respect the choices their elders made?

  4. "While the previous generations all have grown up in relative quiet and prosperous times, the current generation has grown up with war, an economic collapse, a pandemic, climate change, and is multiracial enough to be done with racism."

    Born in 1951. Those quiet and prosperous times I grew up in included the violence as people fought for equality, the assassination of a president, the assassination of MLK (and the riots that followed) and RFK, a war that took over 50,000 lives (and included an all expenses paid year in SE Asia for me), "four dead in Ohio," skyrocketing gas prices and long lines to get it, and an economy that brought record inflation and mortgage rates over 15%.

    Good times...

    1. Let's go through point by point:

      * People fighting for equality: BLM protests are doing the same.
      * No POTUS has been shot. Gotta give you that. (Added point because I live in DC: the price Washingtonians pay for that is that their city has been militarized. The White House has sadly become an impenetrable fort. It is not good for rulers to hide behind high fences). Also January 6th happened. Arguably a larger show of domestic terrorism.
      * No black leader has been shot either. But instead of KKK members lynching black people, the police does that these days. On camera and legally.
      * There were wars. But they didn't take 21 years. And while the US has managed to reduce its own death toll, that's not true for the other side. And yet, many more have served in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, and come back damaged.
      * The US is lucky to evade some of the gas price instability, but Europe and large parts of the rest of the world are struggling. In exchange for that, the US is permanently damaging all the states where they're fracking. Wait and see. Oklahoma is already starting to rumble.
      * Currently, we're not far from record inflation.
      * Mortgage rates aren't at 15%. Yet. But student debt is wayyyy up.

    2. Let's go through point by point:
      "previous generations all have grown up in relative quiet and prosperous times relative quiet and prosperous times,"
      *previous generations...that would be me and my peer age group
      *relative quiet ...See my post above from January 3, 2023 at 7:24 AM
      *Prosperous times... See my post above from January 3, 2023 at 7:24 AM

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I was not comparing the events of generations. I was responding to the statement "previous generations all have grown up in relative quiet and prosperous times."

      I might also add that not a single millenial (nor Gen Xer) was drafted to serve their country, as they were in WWI (2.3 million), WWII (10.1 million, including my father), Korea (1.5 million), and Vietnam (1.8 million) I am thankful for that and it is not a criticism of that or future generations.

      Again, thanks for reading.

    3. I was not comparing the events of generations.

      But you were. I was saying the current generation grew up in quite miserable times. And you replied by describing how miserable your time was more miserable, giving many examples. So I set them side-by-side to show you that your times weren't as bad.

      And now you keep going, by dragging in the bad times or generations before you.

      You are correct that Korea forced an enormous amount of people to serve. Nevertheless, the number of people who served in Vietnam is in the same order as Iraq and Afghanistan. As an immigrant, I remain confused on why Americans keep these wars. The cost is enormous, and the gains are unclear.

      But that's all not relevant to the discussion here, which in the end is that your generation fucked over the current generation. Check this video out:


      PS My grandparents thank your parents for liberating them. I'm pretty sure my grandmom is roaming heaven to do so in person/angel.

  5. Consider, if you will, how many life-changing ‘once in a lifetime’ events millennials (and younger Gen-Xers like me) have already lived through. Our entire lifetimes have revolved around change, and rapidly accelerating change at that. I’ve personally lived through, as an example: VHS/Betamax, LaserDiscs, Video CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray/HD-DVD, digital media, and streaming. Change isn’t just the pattern of our lives, change itself has become the constant. So of course we don’t fear change. We embrace it. And thus, we are more liberal (and Liberal) than previous generations. We don’t view the past through rose-colored glasses, because up until relatively recently, the path of progress had been steadily upwards. And then, it was conservatives and Conservatives who ruined everything by trying to return us to a ‘perfect-world-that-never-was’. We know you can’t go backwards. The only way to progress is to move forward, and to change the things that need changing.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...