America, a melting pot of cultures, hubbard of ideas, symbol of liberty, is still very much the place that most immigrants hope to go to in hope for a better life.Yet, as the demographics of the country shift again, America finds herself not only on the verge of an economic overhaul, but also very much a demographic overhaul.
Paul Taylor’s newest book, The Next America, is a well informed book packed with years of data compiled by the partnering Pew Research Data. As already mentioned in the preface of the book, Taylor acknowledges that The Next America is a book that is backed up by a fact tank in the Pew Research Center, with the faith that the common foundation of facts can help societies identify problems and discover solutions.
With Obama’s ‘surprise’ reelection victory, Taylor draws us to the ideological differences between the older generations and the millennials. As he aptly sums it up, millennials are “diverse, tolerant, narcissistic, coddled, respectful, confident and broke.” Quoting psychologist Jean Twenge’s work in 2006, Generation Me, he analyses youths dating back to the 1920s and shows a long term cultural shift towards high esteem, self importance, and narcissism.
Upon the end of the first chapter, he outlines other changes that has happened, from the changes in racial and ethnic makeup, different voting inclinations, worsening economic fortunes, different families and converging gender roles, religious values, different views of American exceptionalism, different take on digital revolution and news amongst many other reasons. Again, being a meticulous writer, he takes note to bring us to the possible assumptions of using generation analysis (which is that members of the same generation are assumed to experience the same historical events at roughly the same stage of life, and results share what is loosely called a generational persona, shaped by the persona of their parent’s generation).
He then categorises the American generation over the past century into 3 distinct categories, the Millennials, the Generation X, and the Silent Generation. Categorised by differences in their degree of acceptance in liberty etc, he goes on to compare the facts as follows:
On the topic of immigrant migrant, he echoes concerns that the Americans may be worried that immigrants would take their jobs, drain their resources, threaten their language, mongerlize their race, worship false idols, and import crime and vice. Yet, he argues, globalisation and the digital revolution has eliminated many of the jobs that provided ladders into the middle class for earlier generations of immigrants…with also a growing ease of all international travel and communication having enabled today’s immigrants to retain their ties to their countries of origin, thereby reducing pressures to adopt America’s language, customs, values and mores.
On the topic on Black and White split, Taylor notices that Obama’s presidency has, in Dr Martin Luther King’s words, allowed the arc of history to bend towards inclusion. Some 43% of Millennial adults are non-white, the highest share of any generation. About half of newborns in America today are non-white, and the Census Bureau projects that the full U.S. population will be majority non-white sometime around 2043.
The racial makeup of today’s young adults is one of the key factors in explaining their political liberalism. But it is not the only factor. Across a range of political and ideological measures, white Millennials, while less liberal than the non-whites of their generation, are more liberal than the whites in older generations.
The data goes into a slew of other topics, but this post is not intended to diverge into those topics. However, the information can be easily obtained from the Pew Research Centre site: