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The Next America
April 13, 2014 12:23 PM   Subscribe

"America is in the midst of two major changes to its population: We are becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray. Explore these shifts in our new interactive data essay."
posted by Chutzler (44 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
(Meant to include that it's from the Pew Research Center)
posted by Chutzler at 12:24 PM on April 13


Pew's been killing it lately--this is good.
posted by box at 12:33 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


It's going to be interesting in 100 years. Wish I'd be there to see it, but I guess that defeats the purpose.
posted by edgeways at 12:35 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I'm old personing it up here, but web design that recreates pop-up books annoys me.
posted by Ferreous at 12:56 PM on April 13


tr;dr: It's gotta suck to be an old conservative white man nowadays.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:12 PM on April 13


...And retirement might suck for Gen-Xers
posted by edgeways at 1:14 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


What's a "retirement"?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:19 PM on April 13 [33 favorites]


t gottabefunky: I dunno, it seems like despite being a rapidly shrinking group being old, conservative and white is pretty much the plum gig of being an american citizen. You're catered to on every level politically, you have wealth from a lifetime of opportunities that young adults never had, and you are super over-represented in media.

If the trade off for that is you have to deal with social policies you disagree with but don't really affect you on any personal level (gay marriage, marijuana, etc) it seems like a pretty sweet deal.
posted by Ferreous at 1:19 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


I dunno, the whole "statistically likely to die pretty soon" thing sucks pretty bad
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:26 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


There is the risk that as you keep supporting and enforcing policies that benefit yourself at the expense of everyone else, you're going to discover the end of a life of privilege is spent up against a wall.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:28 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Risk of that actually happening have gone from .0000001% to .0000002%. Doubled!
posted by jfuller at 1:36 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


you are super over-represented in media.

You think? Way I understand it is, when questioned, Americans tend to overestimate minorities in demographic breakdowns, presumably because of media. Makes sense, really. If your slice-of-America TV show or movie has a cast of, say, ten people and two are black or Jewish or Asian, you're already pushing reality. (Yes, yes, I know - location counts for everything, San Fran is not the same as NOLA is not the same as Minneapolis - but that's a distinction I suspect gets lost on the average poll respondent when trying to come up with a number to the estimation question.)

I was surprised to learn just how many US adults believe that one citizen in four is gay or lesbian.

As to the article and its projections - trends make for interesting reading, but History will have the last laugh.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:40 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


The data presentation is lovely. Thanks for sharing.
posted by michaelh at 1:52 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


In 1960, the population of the United States was 85% white; by 2060, it will be only 43% white. We were once a black and white country. Now, we’re a rainbow.

Considering that white/black are just arbitrary constructs that change, and continue to change, that actually doesn't mean anything.
posted by iamck at 2:05 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Considering that white/black are just arbitrary constructs that change, and continue to change, that actually doesn't mean anything.

A bit. In 1960, did people who'd been living in america for a few generations think of italians, greeks, germans, irish, etc as mainstream "whites" or as "other"?
posted by RustyBrooks at 2:12 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


tr;dr: It's gotta suck to be an old conservative white man nowadays.

They laugh all the way to the bank with whatever babe they snatched from the cradle. They grouse just to rub it in and get attention.

Anyway, the graying is a global thing -- I just came back from one jewelry show where the marketing trend is to cater to older women because they are flamboyant and unlike those kids who seem to be interns-for-life, got the disposable income to blow.

Youth Establishment is getting rocked by their rebel hipster grandmas who will own them.

Thanks for the link...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:19 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Considering that white/black are just arbitrary constructs that change, and continue to change, that actually doesn't mean anything.

I wouldn't go quite so far as that. At the bare minimum it means more people have a much more fluid and nuanced understanding of "race", so it indicates a reimagining of attitudes. By no means are we living in a post-racial society, but we might be creeping in that direction over the long term.
posted by edgeways at 2:30 PM on April 13


But the money isn't split the same way anymore either. Top 0.01% and all...
posted by mulligan at 2:44 PM on April 13


tr;dr: It's gotta suck to be an old conservative white man nowadays.

Seriously, how much longer are we going to pretend the Republican/Democrat divide is at all legitimate or relevant?
posted by odinsdream at 3:13 PM on April 13


Seriously, how much longer are we going to pretend the Republican/Democrat divide is at all legitimate or relevant?

McCutcheon v. FEC.
posted by Talez at 3:27 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Whoever the babyboomer was who made that pyramid graph at the top of the article, they're awfully optimistic about the sustainability of health care as we barely-employed [Gen-Xers? Millennials? They keep flip-flopping on which stereotypes to apply to my early-1980s cohort] have to support them in their old age while we also care for the kids we didn't have until middle age.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:48 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


The baby boomers really are like a pig in a snake.
posted by cacofonie at 4:05 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Ha. Suck it, scared racists.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:37 PM on April 13


Gen-Xers? Millennials? They keep flip-flopping on which stereotypes to apply to my early-1980s cohort

You're too young for Gen X, really. And the Millennials probably hate you for being too old. That's a hell of a mess - how are you supposed to know what to appreciate ironically?
posted by thelonius at 4:39 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


You're too young for Gen X, really. And the Millennials probably hate you for being too old. That's a hell of a mess - how are you supposed to know what to appreciate ironically?

Born in 1980-85? We had the best Nickelodeon cartoons so fuck y'all.
posted by Talez at 4:43 PM on April 13 [19 favorites]


I bet you've never even seen an episode of Ultra-Man
posted by thelonius at 4:45 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


The article defines Gen-X as "born 1965-1980" and Millennial as "born after 1981."

Clearly, those of us born in 1981 get to have our very own generation. All we need is a name.

Gen-Opus? The DeLorennials?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:00 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


The baby boomers really are like a pig in a snake.

I predict a phenomenal defecation when the bulge reaches the far end.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:12 PM on April 13


I've often thought that video game consoles make for nicely granular generational divisions, for those of us born in the '70s or later. What console was most prominent in your childhood? I was born in 1980 and confidently identify as Generation NES, even though I never actually owned one. Perhaps you are slightly older, and grew up more familiar with the Intellivision or Atari 2600. Amazingly, there are now eligible voters who have never known anything more primitive than a PlayStation.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:14 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


That seems like a pretty solid system. NES it is.

Also, in case that PlayStation tidbit didn't make you feel enough like a fossil.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:21 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Ooh, I'm definitely the Atari 2600 generation, though my primary console was a Colecovision.
posted by desjardins at 5:52 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


But every so often societies experience “aha” moments, when the change is right there in plain sight. We had several such moments in early 2014, as three iconic American brands, Coke, Chevy and Cheerios, rolled out ads during the Super Bowl and Olympics that were aimed at what one voice-over called "the new us."

Omg if we have to have "aha" (urgh) societal moments, can we go easy on the corporate branding?
posted by Bwithh at 5:58 PM on April 13


I think in this instance corporate branding is not so much the "a-ha" as the "a-happened a-while a-go".
posted by dhartung at 6:07 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


desjardins: "Ooh, I'm definitely the Atari 2600 generation, though my primary console was a Colecovision."

Why must you continue to flaunt your wealthy and privileged childhood over those of us poor slobs who had to settle for an Atari 2600?

(Totally kidding, BTW, in case it wasn't obvious.)
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 6:10 PM on April 13


You're too young for Gen X, really. And the Millennials probably hate you for being too old. That's a hell of a mess - how are you supposed to know what to appreciate ironically?

I was born around this time and feel too young for Gen X and too old for Millennials as well. I call it the My So Called Life Generation.
posted by sweetkid at 7:01 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


What gets me is that we seem to be not moving on from Millennials. They started calling the early-80s crowd that at a time when I could get it, sure, the people who were graduating around the millenium, clever. But now? Now, somehow we're still calling people Millennials who weren't actually alive yet when Daria was airing. It's stopped really being anything generational and turned into the name we call "young people today" without regard for what happens when those people are no longer today's young people.
posted by Sequence at 9:14 PM on April 13 [10 favorites]


Generation Z.. which sounds ominous.
posted by edgeways at 9:19 PM on April 13


By no means are we living in a post-racial society, but we might be creeping in that direction over the long term.

Well, unfortunately I don't think we'll ever be a post-racial society, or if such a thing is even possible. But it is possible for the categorization of race to change - as in, which physical qualities end up lumping you into which group. And I would argue those categories have changed since the 1960s. Whatever rainbow you end up with, I'm sure Americans will find new and interesting ways of creating hierarchy.
posted by iamck at 9:24 PM on April 13


What console was most prominent in your childhood?

Odyssey² FaLYFE!
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:39 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Whatever rainbow you end up with, I'm sure Americans will find new and interesting ways of creating hierarchy.

I propose number of comments on Metafilter as the key metric.
posted by Justinian at 5:10 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


I propose number of comments on Metafilter as the key metric.

Put a number next to it, and dudes will try and make it look bigger.
posted by DigDoug at 5:50 AM on April 14


It's stopped really being anything generational and turned into the name we call "young people today" without regard for what happens when those people are no longer today's young people.

Same deal happened with 'Generation X,' and I suspect it's part of the usual life cycle of generational identifiers--chances are, 'Millennials' and 'Generation Y' will mean 'young people today' until an agreed-upon name for the following generation comes along.
posted by box at 7:53 AM on April 14


Well, unfortunately I don't think we'll ever be a post-racial society, or if such a thing is even possible. But it is possible for the categorization of race to change - as in, which physical qualities end up lumping you into which group. And I would argue those categories have changed since the 1960s.

I, too, would be surprised if we ever did, but I think it's sort of like trying to do anything perfectly. You'll never do it, but it is always worth the effort. There will always be people who insist on the absurd ideas of 'racial purity', or 'one drop' I think those extremes will get further marginalized over time as the idea of race becomes much more granular


Whatever rainbow you end up with, I'm sure Americans will find new and interesting ways of creating hierarchy.


Replace 'Americans' with 'people' and I'd tend to agree. Americans don't have the lock on the behavior by any stretch of the imagination. While I think race issues are important to talk about and address, it has always been about class issues with me. I think economic imbalance and segregation is what fuels much of racial issues and is the 700 pound elephant that gets misinterpreted all too often. I think a rich black man and a rich white man have much more in common then a rich black man and a poor black man (or white or Asian or $_ethnicity...)
posted by edgeways at 10:07 AM on April 14


Generation Z.. which sounds ominous.

The Z clearly stands for zombie.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:28 AM on April 17


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