November 3, 2011

Anger with Government Rises Among Silents, Boomers

30 and 26

Three-in-ten members of the over-65 Silent generation describe themselves as angry with the federal government. About a quarter (26%) of Baby Boomers also say they are angry at Washington.

Most Americans say they are frustrated with the federal government; anger at the government has been increasing across generations, with the exception of Millennials. In 2004, just 14% of Silents said they were angry with government – no different from the 14% of Millennials who said the same. Since then, the percentage of Silents who are angry at the government has more than doubled to 30% — there has been virtually no increase in anger among Millennials (13% share this view). In line with Silents, more Boomers and Gen Xers say they are angry at the government than did so in 2004 (up 11 points and nine points, respectively).

Trust in government has fallen among all generations in the past few years. Just 26% of Millennials say they can trust the government always or most of the time, down from 44% in 2004. There have been comparable declines among Gen Xers, Boomers and Silents. In all three groups, no more than about one-in-five says they can trust government always or most of the time.

Members of the Millennial group fall between the ages of 18 and 30; GenXers are 31 to 46; Baby Boomers are 47 to 65; and Silents are 66 and older. Read More