The Kids Are All Right (And These Surprising Statistics Prove It)

Americans under 25 are bringing a new era of tolerance, education, and vastly improved behaviors while older folks are acting worse. That isn’t starry-eyed idealism. It’s hard numbers.


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As their elders deteriorate into social epidemics and reactionary nationalism, young Americans as a generation are avoiding crime, violence, prison, parenthood, dropout, and other major life determinants and adopting more inclusive, global attitudes.

This isn’t “kids are all right!” romanticism; it’s a confluence of hard facts and trends. As American politics seems increasingly hopeless, striking generation gaps in attitudes and behaviors have emerged. Leaders and experts don’t comprehend how seismic youth improvements have been or what’s driving them.

The gap begins with demography. The census finds Americans under age 25 (51 percent white, 25 percent Latino, 14 percent black, 5 percent Asian, 5 percent other/mixed) far more diverse than elders (age 55-older: 74 percent white).

In harbingers such as California, nearly three-fourths of young people now are of color, and half have at least one foreign-born parent. That’s what America’s future looks like.

And they’re leading a revolution. Statistics look like typos, but they’re real.

As California’s teenage youth population grew by 1 million from 1990 to 2015, Department of Justice, Centers for Disease Control, and census figures show their murder arrests fell from 658 to 88 (in Los Angeles and notorious Compton, from 269 to 8 ), violent crimes from 21,000 to 7,000, property felonies from 54,000 to 7,000, total criminal arrests from 220,000 to 63,000, gun killings from 351 to 84, juvenile imprisonments from 10,000 to 700, births from 26,000 to 7,000, and school dropout rates from 16 percent to 6 percent. College enrollment and graduation soared (from 34 percent to 47 percent).

In the 1970s, 10 percent of youthful Californians were arrested every year; in the 1990s, 7 percent; today, 2 percent. These are the sunniest numbers ever reliably recorded.

While erudite magazines recycle tiresome railings against “terrible teens,” California teenagers are acting better than grownups by nearly all indexes. Not just privileged youth are doing so. Troubles plummeted in tough East Oakland and affluent Irvine alike. Not because authorities “got tough;” just the opposite. Very few youths get busted for pot, drinking, curfew, etc., anymore; arrests for "underage" this or that are fast disappearing.

While California’s trends are especially pronounced, FBI and CDC tabulations show major declines in youth problems are occurring everywhere—from Connecticut to Texas, Michigan to Arizona, Atlanta to Seattle, in localities with vigorous anti-violence measures and those with none, with strong gun controls or "gun rights" regimes, with lots of kids in prison or few. Since 1995, the FBI’s 40 reporting states saw juvenile violent and property crime declines of at least 55 percent; 23 had declines of over 70 percent.

That large improvements among youth occurred in areas with very different conditions and policies makes them difficult for ideologues and experts to explain. Analyses shows repressive measures that were supposed to make youth safer, like higher drinking ages, teen driving bans, and curfews, have either proven ineffective or made dangers worse. Little has been done to reduce staggering levels of poverty afflicting the young. College tuitions have soared, along with student debt.

The credit for improvements appears to lie with younger generations themselves. What experts like Princeton’s John DiIulio once considered the nightmare scenario—thousands more dark-skinned youth (“adolescent super-predators”) on the streets, less policed than ever—now looks like a beacon of hope in an America whose grownups, from exploding middle-aged drug and crime scourges to political regressions, act crazier every day.

Maladaptation to racial and social change appears to underlie real pathologies, particularly among aging whites. Middle-aged rural and suburban whites’ soaring death rates from drugs and guns are now higher than those of inner-city Black and Latino teenagers. America’s fastest growing prison population is middle-aged Whites, while younger people show big decreases. President Trump blames White malaise on drug-running immigrants and city-dwellers, but Whites are 75 times more likely to die from self-inflicted drug overdoses and suicides, and six times more likely to be murdered by other Whites, than to be killed by non-White assailants.

When it comes to America’s racial transition driven by immigration frightening Trump-voting Whites, California’s been there, done that. After 1980s and '90s anti-immigrant/drug-war/crime-crackdown/school-defunding/prison-building panics, California’s new era of liberal reforms emerged—and California Whites (a 70 percent majority in 1980; a 40 percent minority today) are doing splendidly, richer than ever, safer than Whites elsewhere from deadly drugs and guns—and voting against Trump.

That most older Whites still refuse to accept a multiracial society accompanies a counter-reaction in which diverse associations contribute to young people’s positive trends. White youth living in and around immigrant-friendly Los Angeles and New York City are considerably safer from drug, suicide, and firearms death than White youth elsewhere in the country. Younger Whites, particularly young White women, increasingly resemble non-Whites in social attitudes, while older Whites remain far more reactionary.

Polls and surveys consistently show younger Americans strongly favor gay marriage (and universally accept interracial marriage), religious tolerance, a “welcome all” stance toward immigrants, personal association with diverse populations, scientific reasoning rather than religious faith, action to reverse climate change, proactive government action on the economy and health care, and liberal/left candidates who act on these agendas. Americans age 50 and older generally hold the reverse positions; older whites still oppose interracial marriage, would ban all immigration, and harbor intense “racial resentment.”

Exit polls in the 2016 election showed the under-25 (anti-Trump) versus 45-older (pro-Trump) split exceeded 35 points. In many states, especially in the South, young and old occupy different political and social worlds. In California, a triangulation of exit polls shows, young White men voted against Trump by 20 points, young White women by 40 points, older white women by 10 points, and all ages of color by 40-80 points; only White men 40 and older supported Trump. California maps the future of the American electorate.

A shrinking contingent of racist and violent young who occasionally generate deplorable headlines remains, but they’re not symptoms of mass depravity. Hard-nosed facts and trends show future-oriented Americans should look to young people as validating progressives’ faith in diversity and globalism. Incorporating younger ages into voting, office-holding, and civic leadership are keys to activating the potential of today’s remarkable youth revolution to reverse today’s destructive public fray.

This article was republished from YES! Magazine.

See also:
We Aren’t So Different—3 Steps To Overcome Hate And Fear
Black Teen Suicide Rate Has Doubled. Here Are 5 Ways To Help

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April 27, 2018

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April 2018

Usui Holy Fire II Reiki I Prerequisite: a desire to learn Reiki Study includes the history of Reiki, the Reiki principles, the hand positions used to give Reiki to yourself and to others,...

Cost: $175 (pre-registration required)

Where:
The Studio at One Earth
191 Emery Mills Road
Shapleigh, ME  04076
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Sponsor: The Studio at One Earth
Telephone: 207-636-2500
Contact Name: The Studio at One Earth
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Sunday yoga is back! Hatha Yoga with meditation to get you ready to tackle your spring intentions. Sign up for series or drop in. 

Cost: $75/5 classes; drop in $17.00

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Center
176 Jackson Rd
Devens, MA
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Sponsor: Dragonfly Wellness Center
Telephone: 978-227-8297
Contact Name: Anita Perry
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Cost: $60

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
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Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-969-8968
Contact Name: Brian Serven
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This workshop is part of the At the Heart of the Matter: a series of workshops about all things HEART. How do we connect with our hearts? And what keeps us from staying connected? In this...

Cost: $35

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Newtonville, MA


Telephone: 617-913-0683
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Cost: $18 drop in

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
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Sponsor: Bliss Through Yoga
Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice
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As springtime rolls around, many of us get out our trash bags, buckets, and boxes in order to clean out and tidy up our homes and offices. Physically cleaning our spaces is great and all, but did...

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WeWork
31 St. James Ave
Boston, MA  02116
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Sponsor: The Kabbalah Center
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Concord, MA


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Telephone: 617-913-0683
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Cost: $40

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Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01835
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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Cost: Free

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6 Chestnut Street
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Exeter, MA  03833
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Cost: Varies

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Balance Bethlehem
2087 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH  03574
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Sponsor: Ann Barker
Telephone: 603-897-9645
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Friday, April 27 - Sunday, April 29, 2018 April Ropes and Ritu Kapur Sohum’s 3rd Annual Retreat will be offered in Beautiful Berkshires, The Spirit Fire Meditative Retreat Center in...

Cost: $385

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Spirit Fire Retreat Center
407 W. Leyden Road
Leyden, MA  01337
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Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
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April 27 - 29, 2018 What if there were 5 love languages in the bedroom…and you had a secret decoder ring? Imagine the erotic satisfaction you could unlock…for yourself and for...

Cost: $1097*/couple; Early bird $997* by Feb 14, 2018

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Angel’s Rest Retreat Center
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Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Telephone: 415-244-1652
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Cost: Varies

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Balance Bethlehem
2087 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH  03574
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Sponsor: Ann Barker
Telephone: 603-897-9645
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India Discovery Center is pleased to announce the next seminar in the “Let us explore the Cultural History of India.” The fourth event entitled “Seminar on the Golden Period,...

Cost: $20

Where:
Bemis Hall
15 Bedford Road
Lincoln, MA  01773
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Sponsor: India Discovery Center
Telephone: 781-259-0029
Contact Name: Bijoy Misra
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Cost: Free

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430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
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Sponsor: Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
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April 28 - 29, 2018 Led by Marconics Teacher Practitioners:  Josh Brotherton and Nadine Muhammad To register:  From US:  Tel: 774-987-9449 Email: yourhealinglight@gmail.com...

Cost: $450

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Suffield Massage Therapy and Wellness Center
230 Mountain Rd
Suffield, CT  06078
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Sponsor: Marconics
Telephone: 774-987-9449
Contact Name: Josh Brotherton
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Cost: $860

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North Easton, MA


Telephone: 508-230-3860
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Cost: Free

Where:
Elm Park
Russell St
Worcester, MA  01609
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Sponsor: Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy of New England
Telephone: (774) 321-6611
Contact Name: Sifu Gary
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Cost: Free admission

Where:
Taunton V.F.W.
82 Ingell Street
Taunton, MA  02780


Sponsor: The Enchanted Forest Taunton
Telephone: 774-208-6195
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