States of Change: How Demographic Change is Transforming the Republican and Democratic Parties

States of Change: How Demographic Change is Transforming the Republican and Democratic Parties. Brookings Institution. Rob Griffin, William H. Frey, and Ruy Teixeira. July 1, 2019

Demographics are not destiny, but steady and predictable changes to the electorate play an important role in defining the landscape of American politics. Most demographic groups have a political lean, so a group increasing or decreasing in size over time will tend to benefit one party or type of politics over another. The most well-known example is the growth of the nonwhite population in the United States, which—since nonwhites tend to lean heavily Democratic—is typically viewed as tilting the electoral terrain somewhat toward the Democrats over time as well as increasing the weight of nonwhite voters within the Democratic Party over time. But other changes are important, such as the decline of noncollege educated voters, particularly whites; the aging of the adult population; and the rise of new generations to replace older ones.

In this report, the authors will explore the effect of these changes on the demographic composition of the electorate and, especially, on the composition of the two major political parties. Reflecting the latter focus, this analysis will not focus on how many individuals from a given demographic group voted or will likely vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular election. Rather, it focuses on how many people who voted or are likely to vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular election belong to a given demographic group. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 53 pages].

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Why Governments Count People

Why Governments Count People. YaleGlobal. Joseph Chamie. March 19, 2019

Governments have organized censuses since ancient times, and as the world’s population approaches 8 billion, governments have more people to count and analyze than ever before. Censuses help determine efficient allocation of government funds and political representation. A low median age suggests the government should devote more funding to education and an older median age suggests more resources should go toward elder services. Methods and access to the data remain controversial, explains demographer Joseph Chamie. Censuses expose flaws, whether income disparity, gender imbalances or even the influences of climate change and lack of sustainability. Political parties in power can manipulate perceptions and results with insertion or deletion of a single question. “Inaccuracies or outright lies defeat the purpose of the census and disrupt effective governing and meaningful planning,” he writes. “So every question should have a legitimate public purpose to promote well-being and reduce problems.” Chamie outlines how concerns about confidentiality or diversity can erode accuracy even as globalization of communications and travel reinforce citizen demands for smooth government operations and services. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

How Migration of Millennials and Seniors Has Shifted since the Great Recession

How migration of millennials and seniors has shifted since the Great Recession. Brookings Institution. William H. Frey. January 31, 2019

Migration across the United States has shifted noticeably since the 2007-2009 Great Recession with many areas hoping to attract members of two huge generations: the young adult millennial generation and the increasingly graying baby boomers. Millennials, a highly educated and diverse generation now squarely in their late 20s and 30s, are forming the backbone of various regions’ emerging labor forces and consumer bases. Baby boomers, now all aged 55 and above, can reinvigorate communities that retain or attract their more affluent members. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

Why rural America needs cities

Why rural America needs cities. Brookings Institution. Nathan Arnosti and Amy Liu. November 30, 2018

The 2018 midterm elections affirmed that the deep geographic divides within the United States are here to stay. As they did in 2016, Americans living in rural areas overwhelmingly backed Republican candidates, fueled in part by the sense that the American economy is leaving them behind. The plight of rural America, and ideas for its economic revival, continues to animate policy discussions, including among Democrats concerned about their ability to appeal to blue-collar voters. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

How Should Social Security Adjust When People Live Longer?

How Should Social Security Adjust When People Live Longer? Urban Institute. C. Eugene Steuerle, Damir Cosic. August 20, 2018

 As people live longer, they spend more time in retirement, straining Social Security’s finances. This brief outlines the implications of three approaches to adjusting Social Security for longer lives: making no adjustment, which has applied over most of Social Security’s history; keeping constant the expected number of retirement years; and keeping constant the relative share of life in retirement. Compared to age 65 retirement in 1940, people under each rule would retire in 2100 at age 65, 79, and 76, respectively. The brief also shows how these calculations can be done under different assumptions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 6 pages].

The Long-Term Impact of Aging on the Federal Budget

The Long-Term Impact of Aging on the Federal Budget. Brookings Institution. Louise Sheiner. January 11, 2018

 The United States is in the midst of a demographic transition. Just 10 years ago, the share of the population that was 65 or older was only 12½ percent. Today, it is 15 percent, and in just 20 years, it is projected to reach 21 percent. These demographic changes have aroused considerable concern about our fiscal future, as much of the budget of the federal government is allocated to old-age entitlement programs. In particular, Social Security, which provides public pensions, and Medicare, which provides health insurance to the aged, will rise as a share of GDP as the baby boom generation enters retirement. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 25 pages].

The Changing Global Religious Landscape

The Changing Global Religious Landscape. Pew Research Center. April 5, 2017.

More babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But this is unlikely to be the case for much longer: Less than 20 years from now, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births to Christians, according to new Pew Research Center demographic estimates. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 46 pages, 2 MB].