Due to the high turnout and overall larger population, the baby boomers had a four million ballot box advantage over millennials at the 2015 General Election, thus highlighting a democratic imbalance that should concern all political parties.
This is according to new analysis published today by the Resolution Foundation as part of its ongoing Intergenerational Commission that seeks to understand and address inequalities between generations.
The paper assesses a broadly-defined measure of turnout – those who voted as a proportion of the voting age population, rather than just those on the electoral register – at each UK General Election since 1964.
The Foundation says that this ballot box advantage reflects millennials being one third less likely to vote than baby boomers in 2015. However, it also highlights that poor turnout among young people runs far deeper than today’s millennial generation. It notes that the turnout gap between young and old dates to the mid-1990s when generation X-ers were reaching voting age. From just 3 percentage points in 1964, the turnout gap between those in retirement (age 66-80) and those in early adulthood (age 21-35) reached 26 percentage points in 2005 and has remained close to that level ever since.
The Foundation adds that with past turnout a good indicator of subsequent voting behaviour, declining turnout, including lower voter registrations, among successive cohorts of first-time eligible voters presents a major challenge for future elections.
The report identifies a link between turnout and home ownership. It notes that renters are less likely to vote than homeowners across all generations, for example, baby boomer renters aged 30 were 16 per cent less likely to vote than their homeowner counterparts. Crucially, this gap has widened for each subsequent generation, and stands at 43 per cent for millennials. Given sharp declines in home ownership – boomers aged 30 were 50 per cent more likely to own than millennials are at the same age – changing living patterns in early adulthood may be fuelling the generational turnout gap.
So to the extent that younger generations will eventually age their way into home ownership – just later in life than previous generations – we might expect turnout in prime age to catch up somewhat with previous generations.
The report also notes that changing attitudes towards political parties and the democratic process are likely to underpin the divergence in turnout between age groups. It highlights that the share of those in early adulthood (aged 21-35) who said they cared which party won the election has fallen sharply, from 74 per cent in 1992 to just 56 per cent in 2015. Over this same period, the share of those in retirement (aged 66-80) who care has risen slightly to 81 per cent.
The Foundation notes that the democratic imbalance caused by this generational gap in turnout may have far-reaching consequences for government policy. While many associate the growing baby boomer ballot box advantage with increased spending on pensioners – and a welcome fall in pensioner poverty – it is also likely to have influenced the UK’s decades-long failure to build new housing, which has locked many generation X-ers and millennials out of home ownership.
The Foundation argues that reversing the decline of successive generations of young people turning out to the ballot box is central to addressing broader intergenerational inequalities. The report puts a number of options on the table for consideration, including first-time compulsory voting, online voting, simpler voter registration and a lower voting age.
Laura Gardiner, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:
“Baby boomers enjoyed a ballot box advantage over millennials worth over four million votes at the last general election, due in part to millennials being almost a third less likely to vote.
“But this poor turnout among young people is a deep-rooted problem, dating back to the mid-90s when young generation X-ers started turning away from the polling booth.
“This generational divide in turnout matters for our democracy, but also has profound implications for policy if politicians feel they only need to target the votes of older generations to win power.
“We need to explore ways to correct the democratic imbalance before the voting pool shrinks to a puddle. Ideas such as first-time compulsory voting with the option to not select any candidate, making voter registration easier, voting online and lowering the voting age are not silver bullets, but may help reverse this worry trend.”
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”