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.


Published:

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

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

January 27, 2020

The waxing Moon, Venus and Neptune are all in mystical Pisces, opening wide the spiritual pathways of the heart. Poets, high priestesses, artists, nature lovers and idealistic dreamers enjoy the special, rarified celestial ambience. Vibrant imaginations…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2020

What is an animal totem/power animal? Does everyone have them? Do animals communicate with us? Join us! Get these questions answered and more. We will explore the world of animals, learn how...

Cost: $65

Where:
Private Office
Andover, MA


Sponsor: Diana Harris
Contact Name: Diana Harris
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join the Initiating Inspiration Book Club, a partnership with the Waltham Public Library and the Agape Spiritual Community. We are reading Evicted by Matthew Desmond. Copies of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waltham Public Library
735 Main Street
Waltham, MA  02451
View map »


Sponsor: Waltham Public Library
Telephone: 781-314-3429
Contact Name: Louise Goldstein
Website »

More information

Discover Beauty. Discover Goodness. Discover Yourself. Your soul’s gifts are waiting. Breathe. Find stillness. The spark you need to ignite your life is here, within. Max Meditation...

Cost: $15

Where:
Modern Mystery School Boston
132 Charles St
3rd Floor
Auburndale, MA  02466
View map »


Sponsor: Modern Mystery School Boston
Telephone: 617-694-0994
Contact Name: Jordan Bain
Website »

More information

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for this special evening with Magdalena of My Metaphysical Maven. The topic is fear and anxiety and how to tell what's anxiety versus what's a message from the universe. We'll...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waltham Public Library
735 Main Street
Waltham, MA  02451
View map »


Sponsor: Waltham Public Library
Telephone: 781-314-3441
Contact Name: Debora Hoffman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Did you know that practicing energetic hygiene plays an important role in maintaining a healthy mind, body, spirit and even your home? Everything is made up of energy including us! Energy can...

Cost: $10

Where:
Center For Inner Wellness
26B Main Street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center For Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

January 29–March 25 With Jody Daniels, MBA and Natalia Cepeda, MA Why take Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)? To better manage your stress and enhance...

Cost: $600–$650

Where:
CHA Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
1035 Cambridge St
Suite 21A
Cambridge, MA  02141
View map »


Telephone: 617-591-6132
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join the Marion Institute for our Winter Film Series, a curated line-up of health documentaries that will change the way you think about food, medicine, and disease. Each film will be followed by...

Cost: Free

Where:
St. Luke’s Hospital McBratney Amphitheater
101 Page Street
New Bedford, MA  02740
View map »


Sponsor: Marion Institute
Telephone: 508-748-0816
Contact Name: Patti Rego
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

"Master your breath, let the self be in bliss, contemplate on the sublime within you.” —Krishnamacharya Join us for an evening of deep exploration and transformation using the...

Cost: $40

Where:
Friends Meeting House
5 Longfellow Park
Cambridge, MA  02138
View map »


Sponsor: Allen Howell, M.Ed. LMHC
Website »

More information

January 31–February 2, 2020 Enjoy heart-opening talks, music, spiritual discussion, connect with like-minded people. Free and open to the public. Attend any or all sessions.  Guest...

Where:
Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel
Springfield, MA


Telephone: (508) 754-9042
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Led by Chuck Raffoni ( E-RYT200) named a “person making postiive change in the world for the LGBTQ Community” by Pride Connections and featured on NBC's Today Show for...

Cost: $50

Where:
The Athlete's Yoga
Woburn, MA


Sponsor: www.yogawithchuck.com
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

More information

Participate in the fourth annual Lincoln Holistic Wellness Fair!  Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 11:00am–5:00pm in Lincoln, Massachusetts The Lincoln Holistic Wellness Fair...

Cost: $50

Where:
The Pierce House
17 Weston Road
Lincoln, MA  01773
View map »


Sponsor: Lincoln Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur

More information

This free event showcases an impressive variety of wellness practitioners offering complimentary sample treatments, short classes, demos, presentations, and healthy treats. Mark your calendars...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Pierce House
17 Weston Road
Lincoln, MA  01773
View map »


Sponsor: Lincoln Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur

More information

Get a personal teaching for Brother Granite's new Visionary Shamanism Tarot. This class includes the new Visionary Shamanism Tarot deck as well a 90 minute one on one class with Brother Granite...

Cost: $80

Where:
407 Deans Plaza
407 Rte 44
The Enchanted Forest Taunton
Raynham, MA  02767
View map »


Sponsor: Brother Granite
Telephone: 774-208-6195
Contact Name: Granite
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags