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Monitor Election and Social Research

Generation is less than Age

Representative surveys on age differences in voting behaviour, values, anxieties and political participation

Results of German federal elections differ considerably between the young and the elderly. Considering reports on supposed major differences between Booms, GenZ and other generations this may seem obvious. However, how real are the differences supposed to result from experiences and circumstances during adolescence? Based on representative surveys the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung researched these questions in detail. The answer in short: There are not generation differences.

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Patronizing Boomers, lazy GenZ – cliches on generations are ubiquitous. Reality is different though. The claim on generational differences is wrong in even two ways.

In a representative survey, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung analyzed how the young, the middle aged and the elderly differ. While the names of generations insinuate considerable differences, in reality the various age groups are fairly similar. The consider the same values as very important or less important. They are worried about the same developments in society. Also attitudes on fundamental political questions are similar.

Beyond these broad similarities there are minor differences. Excitement, creativity and success are valued higher by the young. The elderly regard modest behaviour more often as important and they tend to value traditions higher. The young want to reduce barriers for immigrants and participate in demonstrations more often while the elderly make donations more often. However, all these differences are age differences and not generational differences. Already a few decades ago there were similar differences between the young an the elderly. Not the Generation Z values success higher but the young do. At times when the current elderly were young, they also valued success high.

Talking of generations is wrong, claiming considerable age differences is seldom correct.

Read the entire study "Generation is less than Age” here as PDF.

Please note, to date the study is only available in German.

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Contact Person

Dr. Jochen Roose


Electoral and Social Research +49 30 26996-3798


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About this series

The publications of the Election and Social Research Monitor are part of our Monitor publication series. The Monitor series deals with one main topic at a time from the perspective of KAS experts and places it in the political and social context on the basis of a few key points.