Millennials Vs. Generation X: How Much Do Their Political Views Differ?

Each generation brings its fair share of differences from the generation before them. Of course, as the world changes and technology advances, it makes sense that generations will view things differently, whether it be how they raise a family or how they want their country to run. 

According to USA Today, Generation X is the generation of people born between 1965 and 1980. Generation X follows Baby Boomers and is often described as being super hard-working and independent. Right now, many of those in this generation are in the crux of their working years, per Investopedia, although they are the first generation to have to worry about retirement and the ability to stop working at 65 like their parents did, making their money-spending habits a bit more frugal.

As for millennials, this generation is those born between 1981 and 1996, following Gen X. According to Indeed, the majority of millennials were the first to be born into a fully technological world, making their views on many things a lot more progressive than the generations before them. And while earning a good living was always top of mind, millennials became the first to put a bigger focus on work that inspires them. They are also more open to change than Gen X. 

These key differences mean that not only do these two generations view the world differently, but they also have different ideals when it comes to voting — but just how different are those political positions? 

Millennials and Gen X outvoted older generations, but their votes may look different

According to Pew Research Center, the younger generations, namely millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z, outvoted their older counterparts, casting more votes in the 2018 election than older generations. And while these younger generations prioritized going to the polls, the actual votes they cast may not look the same.

According to Pew Research Center, in 2018, only 27% of millennials said they approved of then-President Donald Trump, compared to 36% of Generation X. When Barack Obama was president, 64% of millennials and 55% of Generation X said they were in favor of the way Obama was running the country. These numbers show that the younger generations may lean more towards the liberal side.

Still, according to Politico, Gen X may actually be more conservative than we think. In fact, Politico calls them "safely Republican" and says that more of the older Generation X population are Republican-leaning than the generations before them and that they have officially become the most conservative generation in our country. Research has indicated that all generations tend to become more conservative as they age, but this is actually seemingly ending with millennials, per PBS, whose liberal views seem to remain even as they get older. And while the two generations may lean different ways, they have a lot more similarities than you may think.

Similarities in the ways Gen X and millennials view political issues

Millennials are known as the most liberal generation thus far, per Pew Research Center, and as our country becomes more divided on social issues, the difference between the ways different generations view politics has become a lot more apparent. Millennials are very socially concerned and, according to Forbes, 45% of them say they would stop using a product if the company's political views did not align with their own. And while Generation X's opinions aren't quite as strong, the majority of those in this generation agree with millennial views.

According to Pew Research Center, while millennials are the most supportive of same-sex marriages, Gen X comes in a close second. They also have the same views on racial discrimination and admit to this being the reason Black people do not have the same opportunities as white people. To compare, the Silent Generation, which includes the oldest members of our population, disagrees with this claim. At their core, millennials and Gen X also share some of the same values, including the importance of diversity and having fun, per The University of South Florida

So the next time you sit at the dinner table with your Gen X family members, consider finding your common ground rather than arguing over the 2024 election (if you can).