Americans born in 1991 are special

Actress Shailene Woodley is one of many 91ers.
Actress Shailene Woodley is one of many 91ers.
Image: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
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Do you happen to know a lot of 27-year-olds? Are you 27 years old? If you live in the US, this isn’t a coincidence.

According to data collected by the US Census, more than 4.6 million residents of the country were born in 1991. That’s more than any other year.

There are two main reasons the 1991 cohort is tops. First, many are the kids of people born during an earlier baby boom. The most common age prior to 1990 is 1963, a group who reached peak baby-making age in 1991. Second, many 91ers are immigrants—about a half a million of them. They are part of a spike in the share of foreign-born residents in the US that began in the 1970s but has slowed down in the 2010s.

Today’s 27-year-olds will soon exert even more influence. The chart below, made by Reddit user mskm203 using US Census projections, shows that 10 years from now, people born in 1991 will tower over the rest of the population. For better or worse, this cohort will come to dominate US politics, culture, and economy, just as the Baby Boomers born in the 1950s did before them.