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October 26, 2020

The growing political influence of American millennials


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript of the video above, click here

Summary: The U.S. has more than 72 million millennials, who are adults born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s. This year, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation of adults. And while they have in the past been less likely to participate in politics, these younger adults are increasingly asserting their influence.

  • The generation following Millennials is often called “Generation Z” and generally refers to people born in the mid-nineties to early 2010s. The older members of Generation Z make up the youngest people of voting age, including many of the country’s first time voters in 2020.
  • Some experts identify greater personal debt following economic crisis and environmental concerns as special worries for many Millennial voters.


Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

    • Who is the story about?
    • What is significant about the Millennial generation? What generation follows the Millennial generation?
    • When and where will Millennials be voting this fall?
    • Why is the Millennial generation not growing more conservative as they age, according to the theories mentioned in the piece?
    • How else might Millennial concerns on average be different from other generations?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. Why do yo think political scientists and others are concerned with differences between generations?
  2. Do you think there are issues that are especially important to different generations? What issues do you think are uniquely or especially important to so-called Generation Z?

Media literacy: In this piece, both Millennial Trump supporters and Millennial Biden supporters provide their opinions on politics. We also hear from Millennials who are mistrustful or uncertain about voting as a way to address concerns. Who else would you want to hear from to get a fuller sense of the diversity of Millennial opinions on generational concerns, the election and politics?

Dig deeper: What special concerns are common among members of the generation following Millennials? To start the conversation, watch the video below, taken from Student Reporting Labs’s Face the Facts Town Hall. If you would like to access a full lesson on the video, click here. Then ask your students: What concerns do you think are especially important to their generation?


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