Like many other political realignments, the UK’s vote to leave the European Union has split along generational lines. Polling before the vote showed younger voters were much more likely to support staying in the EU:
Another YouGov poll taken on election night not only validates the projections, but shows the generational divide turned out to be even stronger than expected (pdf):
|Votes to remain|
These poll results must be read with a bit of care, though, because the populations of the different age groups are not even close to even. Only 9% of the UK population falls into the 18 to 24 age group. And only 37% of the UK population is 50 or over, so we can’t reduce the election entirely to age. A large block of 25 to 49 year olds also had to vote “leave” in order for the result to stick.
Nevertheless, the trend is clear. And when we look at the UK’s overall age breakdown we notice something even more striking: 13 million UK residents (21% of the population) are under 18 and therefore not yet eligible to vote.
The outcome, then, appears to have been sensitive to the timing of the vote—assuming that the generation currently in school would have followed the trend set by their older brothers and sisters.
And it means there are soon to be a lot more Brits living with the outcome than would have actually voted for it. Given that they will live longer than those before them, they will have a long, long time to think about the decisions of their parents and grandparents.
The image at the top of this post was shared under a Creative Commons license on Flickr. It has been cropped.