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Youth Decay

By Matthew Yglesias on October 7, 2008 at 9:11 am

"Youth Decay"

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I used to sometimes think that the relatively left-wing views of the under-30 generation were basically just a reflection of the fact that the under-30 cohort contains many fewer non-hispanic whites than does the over-30 cohort. This new report from Amanda Logan and David Madlan makes it clear that’s not right — young whites have substantially more progressive views on a whole range of key issues than do older whites, and there’s substantial convergence between the views of young whites and young minorities:

Young whites, again, hold markedly more progressive views than older whites on the issue of federal spending on child care, while black Millennials’ views are slightly less progressive than their elders’, and Hispanic Millennials’ views are essentially the same as older Hispanics.32 In 2004, 77.8 percent of 18- to 29-year-old blacks thought that federal spending for child care should be increased, compared to 85.5 percent of blacks aged 30 and older. In the same year, 71.4 percent of young Hispanics and 71.6 percent of older Hispanics felt that this funding should be increased. For whites, however, the picture was different in 2004, with 68.1 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds thinking federal spending for child care should be increased compared to just 50.1 percent of whites aged 30 and older.

Yet again, on the topic of spending for the poor, white Millennials have noticeably more progressive views than older whites, while the views of both black and Hispanic Millennials are relatively in line with those of their elders. In 2004, 82.9 percent of young blacks thought that federal spending for the poor should be increased, along with 88.1 percent of blacks aged 30 and older. For Hispanics, the support was even more uniform in 2004, with 65.9 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 62.3 percent of Hispanics aged 30 and older in favor of increased federal spending for the poor. In contrast, 57.6 percent of white Millennials thought that this spending should be increased compared to just 48.1 percent of whites aged 30 and older.

I believe it’s not online, but if you hunt down a copy of the current issue of The Atlantic you should find that it comes packaged with a separately published election supplement that features, among other things, a piece by yours truly observing that the present day conservative coalition seems to mostly be stuck with the shrinking slices of the demographic pie. This data shows us one of the major driving factors behind that.

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