After the Midterms, More Millennials Are in the House


The U. S. midterm elections are now over and change is coming to Washington. The Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, while Republicans picked up another seat in the Senate.

An interesting note: The House of Representatives got younger, and Millennials are now 6% of the House. That’s up 5% from the last Congress.

Drew DeSilver of Pew Research Center writes:

When the 116th Congress convenes in January, at least 26 House members will be Millennials (i.e., born between 1981 and 1996), up from only five at the start of the current Congress in January 2017 and six just before the Nov. 6 midterms. (Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb, 34, won a special election this past spring for a seat that had been vacated by Tim Murphy, a Boomer; Lamb and the five other serving Millennials all were re-elected.) More than a fifth (20) of the 91 freshmen members-elect are Millennials, and 14 of those 20 are Democrats – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, at 29 the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. (All figures in this post are as of Nov. 21, when three seats had yet to be called.)

The influx of younger representatives will bring the House’s median age down a bit, even with the 341 continuing members being nearly two years older than when the current Congress began. Come Jan. 3, 2019, the median age of the new House will be 58.0 years, compared with 58.4 when the 115th Congress began its term.

Gen Xers saw an increase in representation as well, moving from 27% of the House to 31%.

The Boomer Generation has been the dominant generational cohort in government leadership for many years. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump were all born in the same year (1946). As Millennials step into leadership, there is potential for a shift in policy and outlook.

Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post writes:

On specific issues, Millennials take a more liberal stance on the size of government. (“Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than Boomers or Silents to say the government should do more for the needy, even if it means going deeper into debt. And Millennials are more likely than older generations to say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage.”) They are more concerned about economic inequality (66 percent say government favors powerful interests).

There are warning signs for future politicians, however. Millennials are more skeptical of the United States’ role in the world and don’t express support for American exceptionalism. Those who think the United States plays a critical role as the only superpower will need to make the case for international action and make clear that hard power is a last but sometimes necessary element of maintaining the international order that millennials have come to enjoy.

As Millennials begin to lead the nation politically, it is important to understand their outlook not only in an effort to connect and build relationships, but also to note ways in which Christianity is in tension with the culture and ways that it may offer deeper and more lasting motivations for movements aligning with Christian claims.

Know your people. Millennials hold liberal views, and more conservative ones. Some strongly believe that America needs a third party option. Some wonder if Millennials really care about anything.

The best way to find out is to ask, and then to listen.