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The Rising Tide of Gerontocracy

This paper is the sequel to one of IF’s previous research projects The rise of gerontocracy? Addressing the intergenerational democratic deficit, which was published in April 2012. Dr Craig Berry of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute has updated his analysis of voting habits among different age groups to show that the ageing of Britain’s electorate threatens to disenfranchise young people.

Dr Berry’s analysis shows that the median age of people who voted had risen to 51 at the 2015 general election, and warns that by the next general election in 2020, there will be more over 50s who are eligible to vote than there will be people in their 20s and 30s. He argues that given older people are already more likely to vote than younger ones, there is a real risk that politicians will have few incentives to heed the interests of the young compared to older voters.