Marijuana Legalization Popular Among Millennials, Including Republican Youth, As Millennial Demographic Set Hit 81.1 Million By 2036
Support for legalizing marijuana has increased over the years, but most notably among Republican millennials.
Legalizing marijuana is significantly more popular among millennials, regardless of political affiliation, but older age groups steadily show opposition to the concept.
Pew Research Center revealed the majority of millennials, both affiliated with the Democratic Party and Republican Party, support legalizing marijuana. Democratic millennials showed the highest support with 77 percent, but Republican millennials were not too far behind. Based on data conducted between Feb. 12 and Feb. 26, 63 percent of Republican millennials support marijuana's legalization.
Thirty-five percent of Republican millennials believed marijuana should remain illegal.
With only 14 percentage points separating the Democratic millennial and Republican millennial rates, millennials shared the same spread with the Gen X demographic. Pew Research Center classified millennials as individuals born between 1981 and 1996, and Gen X populations from 1965 through 1980. Gen X Democrats also showed more support than their Republican counterparts for marijuana's legalization with 61 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
"Across every generational divide, Democrats show higher support than Republicans on this issue. The overall sea change in marijuana views comes as Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia passed ballot measures legalizing marijuana use in the 2014 election, with the latter two officially going into effect [last] week," wrote Pew Research Center's Associate Digital Producer George Gao, adding Colorado and Washington State have instituted laws to legalize marijuana.
As the generations get older, the opposition from Republican respondents increased while support remains steady with Democrats. With the Baby Boomer population, born between 1946 and 1964, 66 percent of Democrats showed support for marijuana while 38 percent of Republican showed approval, which represented a 28 percent spread. With the Silent generation, born between 1928 and 1945, only 17 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats supported marijuana.
Marijuana will be a key issue among many in the millennial demographic, which is set to overtake the Baby Boomer population this year. Based on population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau, 75.3 million Americans will be among the millennial group during 2015, narrowly surpassing the 74.9 million Americans identified as Baby Boomers.
"The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand their ranks. Boomers -- a generation defined by the boom in U.S. births following World War II -- are older and shrinking in size as the number of deaths exceed the number of older immigrants arriving in the country," wrote Richard Fry, a senior researcher focusing on economics and education at the Pew Research Center in January.
Fry added immigration is adding more people toward the millennial demographic than any other demographics. He noted the millennial population is projected to peak at 81.1 million by 2036. By 2050, however, 79.2 million American are projected to be in the millennial demographic.
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