Saturday 13 January 2018

Millennials vs Boomers

This post is a little follow-up to a map I posted on Twitter recently, showing which areas of the UK had more millennials and which had more baby boomers. Here you'll find a couple more maps plus an interactive version. I've also shared the data along with it if you want to explore it yourself - and perhaps create different definitions for each of these categories. There are many different definitions for these groups but the ones I use here both have 19 separate birth years in them. Using this definition, millennials turned 16-34 in 2016 and baby boomers turned 52-70. Here's a more nuanced map graphic, with top and bottom 10 in terms of the millennial-boomer ratio.

You can see an even bigger version here

There's definitely some correlation between in where universities are and the areas with the highest proportion of millennials relative to baby boomers but it's not always as simple as that. It does help explain why West Wales has a blue tinge and a very slight millennial majority (Aberystwyth University - see also Lancaster) but in many more areas there are other factors. The area with the highest ratio of millennials to baby boomers is Tower Hamlets in London, with 3.9 millennials to every one baby boomer. West Somerset is at the opposite end of the scale, with two baby boomers to every one millennial.

Top 10s

You can explore all this yourself in the basic interactive web map I made. Move your mouse over an area to find out more, including total population and total number of millennials and boomers.

Quick, find some avocado on toast

The data come from the Office for National Statistics' mid-year population estimates for 2016 (the most recent data) and are for local authorities. You can get estimates for lower geographies, but I was only interested in local authorities here. Also, note that the data refer to the usual resident population for the UK as at 30 June of the reference year. The data are provided by administrative area, with single year of age and sex. In the spreadsheet I put in the folder, you can see data by area for each individual year, which is quite interesting in itself. There's also another spreadsheet with percentages and a chart that you can edit yourself. Here's a little extract, plus a gif of some area's age profiles.

Kind of like population pyramids, but not split by sex
Just note the Y axis changes to fit the data

For example, over 2% of the population of Christchurch was aged 90 or over in 2016, according to this ONS data. Birmingham had the highest total population (1.1m), including more than 7,500 people aged over 90. In terms of local authorities with the most millennials, the list goes: Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol, Bradford, Tower Hamlets - not exactly in population order but not far off. Greater London had 2.6m millennials and 1.5m baby boomers (1.77 millennials to every one boomer). Finally, compare and contrast the population profile of Tower Hamlets and West Somerset, as shown below.

Quite a few youngsters here, clearly
The distribution is a little top heavy, it would appear

I was motivated to do this because I've been thinking more about differences, societal cleavages and inequalities recently in some of my academic work. I also saw something on this for US counties by the US Census Bureau in 2015 and more recently George Eaton did a piece on it last week. He called this the 'defining schism' of UK politics, though as things stand there is a lot of competition in the schism-sphere. But if we do want to look at things in terms of schisms, my original map is useful, though I do prefer the more nuanced one at the top of this post.

'The defining schism of UK politics'?

As for me, I'm neither a millennial or a boomer, so I guess I'm somewhere in the middle of this particular schism - so I thought I'd make a map and crunch some numbers in order to understand it better. Feel free to take the data and come up with some other figures for millennials vs boomers but I'm pretty sure the results will be similar; if not now, then in 18 months or so.

Notes: as ever, I made the maps in QGIS. The web map was done in Tom Chadwin's fantastic qgis2web. How dare I label you a 'millennial'!? Blame the US Census Bureau - I've stolen their definition. Baby boomer definitions also vary, and by country, but not by that much so as you'll see on the web 1946-1964 seems about right, but of course it's not fact - just my view.