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Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau 2017 Population projections. Note: Data includes non-citizens, who would not be eligible to vote; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

First-time 2020 voters will usher in a wave of demographic transformation — a remaking of the American identity that's projected to crest in the 2040s.

What’s happening: Millions of Generation Z Americans— those born after 1996 —will be able to vote for the first time next year. The 2020 census, redistricting and elections will begin to reveal population changes that will empower new voices and reshuffle the swing-state map and both parties' bases.

In November, for the first time:

  • Americans born after the 9/11 attacks will be voting for a president.
  • Gen Z will surpass the Silent Generation's share of the electorate.
  • Hispanic Americans will surpass black Americans as the largest racial or ethnic minority voting group.

By the numbers: Gen Z is projected to make up one-tenth of the 2020 electorate, according to Pew Research Center. Put them together with millennials and these youngest generations will be 37% of eligible voters next year. Those who will be old enough to vote for the first time next year will be:

  • Less white: Just 53% of potential first-time voters are non-Hispanic white people — down 11 percentage points from the rest of the voter-aged population, according to U.S. Census projection data. (Data includes non-citizens.)
  • More Hispanic: Nearly a quarter of 18-21 year olds in 2020 are projected to be Hispanic, compared to 16% of the rest of American adults, according to census data.
  • More educated: First-time voters are more likely to be pursuing college and have parents with college degrees.
  • Urban-dwellers: 54% will have been living in or near a central city rather than a rural area, according to IPUMS Census data from 2017. That's up from 44% of millennials when they were that age.

Politically, Gen Zers appear to be "similar to millennials," with "their liberal attitudes and their openness to societal changes," Pew's social trends director Kim Parker told Axios.

  • Getting the 24 million eligible Gen Z voters to the polls in 2020 could be critical for Democrats. But young people are much less likely to show up on election day than older voters.
  • While Gen Z is civically active, candidates will have to overcome the generation's lack of faith in politics as a driver for change, said Jonah Stillman, co-founder of the consulting firm Gen Z Guru.
  • His generation has never seen "an example of any political initiative that is not operating under complete and total polarization."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.