Young people and the ageing electorate: breaking the unwritten rule of representative democracy

My article for the journal Parliamentary Affairs on the potential impact of population ageing on the political influence of young people.

Population ageing means there are, and will be, far more older voters within the electorate. This may exacerbate the apparent marginalisation of young people within the democratic process, and more importantly, undermine the demographic context within which representative democracy has developed, that is, a pyramid-shaped age distribution. This paper details the ‘open secret’ of the impact of ageing on the age balance within the electorate, and uses voter turnout and registration data to document the extent of young people’s under-representation. It also discusses the traditional status of young people, and the nature of age as a psephological characteristic, within the democratic process, arguing that population ageing may be undermining an ‘unwritten rule’ of representative democracy by eliminating the over-representation at the ballot box of the voters most likely to be impacted by the outcomes of the democratic process for longest.

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Image: UK Parliament

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