July 13, 2009

Talkin’ ’bout my Generation


Most Americans believe there is a major difference between the views of younger and older people, and more than said so in 1969.

The 1960s were rife with political demonstrations, civil unrest and social change, yet there was less of a perceived generational gap then than there is now. In 1969, Gallup found that 74% of Americans felt there was “a major difference in the point of view of younger people and older people today.” Ten years later, a New York Times/CBS poll found just 60% saw a generation gap. Today, however, 79% of respondents said they believe there is a major difference in the point of view of younger people and older people. While the phrase may mean something different now than it did in 1969, nearly identical shares of young, middle-aged and older adults see the generational gap. And you cannot blame the young-old gap on Twitter or Barack Obama; few respondents cited politics or technology for the divisions between the generations. More common were explanations — from all ages — surrounding morality, values and the work ethic. Those ages 50 to 64 — yesterday’s long-haired slackers causing social unrest — are today the most likely of any age group to describe today’s youth as spoiled, materialistic and driven by instant gratification. Read More

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