2015 has been a banner year in many respects, from the legalization of gay marriage to upholding Obamacare, things have been moving in a more liberal direction. 2015 is also the year that millennials became the largest demographic group in the United States. The generation, spanning 1981-2000, reached 88 million this year (although millennials have stopped being born, immigration accounts for any increase) and Bloomberg View has an excellent visualization on just what that means for America. It’s no shock that millennials lean further left than their forebears, featuring a higher share of Democratic voters than either Gen X or Boomers. But on the issues, we are a diverse group. Predictably, millennials favor gay marriage and legalization of marijuana. But for the first time since 1993, more Americans favored protecting the right of Americans to own guns over increased gun control.
That includes 47.3% of Millennials, which will either shock you or confirm what you think based on your Facebook friend list. Also, 37.2% of millennials believe abortion should be illegal, a concerning sentiment. Some unsurprising statistics follow. Millennials are starting careers, marrying, and buying homes later than previous generations. The biggest issue for the generation is the economy, which is much more pressing than ISIS. And they believe that the family, not the government, has a greater responsibility for taking care of the aged. That might be realism from a generation more likely than any to be saddled with a failing Social Security system. The only concerning thing is the declining number of under-40 members of Congress. In 1975, that number was 74, before declining to 54 in 1995, and all the way to 32 in 2015. There are currently only three millennials in Congress. This could be symptomatic of loss of faith in the government or simple youthful apathy. But it’s important to remember that we are now the largest voting bloc. If we get out the vote, we can truly affect the course of history. If not, then older generations will continue to steer the ship. So far, they’ve done OK. But as the literal future of America, it’s our responsibility to put our mark on American democracy.