Understanding intergenerational differences the smart thing to do

Intergenerational differences

I sometimes get asked why I focus on intergenerational differences in the issues I cover.

Let me explain.

The accepted wisdom in politics used to be that voters became more conservative as they aged, because that was what happened with baby boomers, who dominated the electorate for a long time.

But, Australian Electoral Commission survey data show the opposite to be happening among millennials, with Green support among voters born between 1981 and 1996 jumping from 14 to almost 30 per cent over the decade to 2022. Over the same period, coalition support among millennials fell from 38 to 23 per cent.

Perceptions of intergenerational inequality have driven this shift, ranging from climate change to job security, and from nature loss to housing affordability.  But, higher social standards on gender, sexuality, religion and race, also factor, with recent polling showing support for the Voice at 68 per cent for those aged 18-34, compared to 34 per cent for over 50s.

With millennials and Gen Zs comprising 40 per cent of adult Australia and rising fast, future-facing politicians, consumer brands, employers and sporting codes are working hard to understand what this means for them.

Of course, there are individual differences within generations.  But, we must recognise the differences in values and norms that occur across generations, as a result of the vastly different worlds into which we were born.

This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.


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