The Changing Demographics of Democratic and Republican Voters

There has been increased interest in the demographic make-up of the Democratic and Republican parties since the 2016 election; in part to identify what has become known as the "Trump Coalition" because it seems to reflect some changes in the historical party alignment.

In March, the Pew Research Center released a major study of the changing demographics of the Republican and Democratic Parties [including those that lean toward one party or the other]. What they found regarding party composition was not entirely surprising, but more profound than expected. They compared party composition change between 1997 and 2017. The key points are these:

1. While the average age of all voters is a bit older than 20 years ago, Republicans are now significantly older than Democrats; 57% of Republicans are 50 years or older compared to 46% of Democrats.

2. Like America generally, the Democratic Party has become substantially more racially diverse. 39% of Democrats are non-white, while just 14% of Republicans identify as black, Hispanic, Asian, or other non-white.

3. Maybe the most surprising change was in education. In the last 20 years the number of Republicans with a college degree remained flat at 28%, while Democrats with degrees jumped from 24% to 39%.

4. There has also been a substantial divergence based on religious affiliation. In 1997, just 9% of Democrats claimed no religious affiliation, but that increased dramatically to 33% in 2017. Republicans had a smaller increase from 5 to 13% claiming no religious affiliation. Its also interesting to note that white evangelicals continue to make up a third of Republicans while only 7% of Democrats identify as such.

So, what does all this mean? Look for a piece tomorrow about the consequences of these changes in American politics.

By: Don Lam & Curated Content



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