The Heartland Is Moving in Different Directions

The Democrats’ ability to wrest back Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa faces a steep hurdle. The population of the Rust Belt is aging at a much faster pace than the rest of the country.

Exit polls show that people over the age of 50 put Donald Trump in the White House, and the Midwest has them in droves. In five states — Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Wisconsin — the number of 18-to-35-year-olds, the most liberal age group, grew by 56,448 between 2016 and 2018, according to Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings.

That growth pales in comparison with the rising number of people 65 and older, a core of Republican support, which grew by 685,005 — an advantage of better than 12 old people for each young person. Nationwide, from 2016 to 2018, 18-to-35-year-olds grew by 677,853 while the 65 and over population grew by 3,207,209 — a smaller advantage of 4.7 old people for each young person, according to Muro.

New York Times Op-Ed