The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown

The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown

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The America of the near future will look nothing like the America of the recent past.

America is in the throes of a demographic overhaul. Huge generation gaps have opened up in our political and social values, our economic well-being, our family structure, our racial and ethnic identity, our gender norms, our religious affiliation, and our technology use.

Today's Millennials — well-educated, tech savvy, underemployed twenty-somethings — are at risk of becoming the first generation in American history to have a lower standard of living than their parents. Meantime, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every single day, most of them not as well prepared financially as they'd hoped. This graying of our population has helped polarize our politics, put stresses on our social safety net, and presented our elected leaders with a daunting challenge: How to keep faith with the old without bankrupting the young and starving the future.

Every aspect of our demography is being fundamentally transformed. By mid-century, the population of the United States will be majority non-white and our median age will edge above 40 — both unprecedented milestones. But other rapidly-aging economic powers like China, Germany, and Japan will have populations that are much older. With our heavy immigration flows, the US is poised to remain relatively young. If we can get our spending priorities and generational equities in order, we can keep our economy second to none. But doing so means we have to rebalance the social compact that binds young and old. In tomorrow's world, yesterday's math will not add up.

Drawing on Pew Research Center's extensive archive of public opinion surveys and demographic data, The Next America is a rich portrait of where we are as a nation and where we're headed — toward a future marked by the most striking social, racial, and economic shifts the country has seen in a century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610396196
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 01/26/2016
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 544,771
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Paul Taylor is a Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center. He previously served as its executive vice president, where he oversaw demographic, social, and generational research. He is the author of See How They Run and coauthor of The Old News Versus the New News. He is a former reporter with the Washington Post, where he covered presidential politics and served as a foreign correspondent. He and his wife live in Bethesda, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Political Tribes 1

2 Demographic Destinies 31

3 Millennials and Boomers 47

4 Generation Gaps 61

5 Battle of the Ages? 79

6 Money Troubles 91

7 The New Immigrants 103

8 Hapa Nation 123

9 Whither Marriage? 143

10 Nones on the Rise 161

11 Living Digital 177

12 Getting Old 195

13 Empty Cradle, Gray World 207

14 The Reckoning 221

Acknowledgments 237

Appendix I 241

Appendix II 275

Notes 327

Index 345

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