This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Demographics of "Feeling the Bern" in Iowa

In yesterday's Iowa caucus for U.S. presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton finished in what amounts to a dead heat. When he entered the presidential campaign, few people would have bet on such a result for Sanders. But the entrance polls conducted last night as people were entering the caucuses showed that age was the single biggest difference between Sanders and Clinton supporters. The Washington Post has the results, and I have grabbed some numbers from their compilation.

Younger people were rather dramatically more likely to be in favor of Sanders compared to Clinton. And you might say that this is because Sanders wants to give them a free college education, but the education demographic doesn't show such a clear difference between support for Sanders and Clinton. There has to be more to it than that. The promise to transfer funds from the wealthy to the less wealthy is bound to grab the attention of young people.

The results represent good news for anyone worried about ageism in America. Bernie Sanders is the oldest candidate at 74 (Clinton is 68), yet he has strong appeal to the youngest voters. It will be very interesting to see if this pattern continues outside of Iowa.

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