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Even so, we believe our series of reports will help to illuminate the lives and times not just of Millennials, but of all Americans.
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Generation X (at 82%) was more supportive than the Baby Boomers when it first appeared in the surveys.
And the Millennial cohort is the most supportive of all.
These are major events (wars, social movements, scientific or technological breakthroughs) that are likely to have a simultaneous impact on all age groups, though, again, their impact is often greatest among the young because their values and habits are less fixed than those of other age groups.
The most common approach to trying to understand how each of these processes plays out is through , which uses data collected at different times to track changes in the attitudes and behavior of cohorts as they age.
Generational differences can be the product of three different but overlapping processes, and it is often difficult to disentangle each from the others. The biological impact of aging and the changing roles that people play as they grow older typically produce changes in attitudes and social behaviors over time.
In short, young people may be different from older people today, but they may well become more like them tomorrow, once they themselves age. Generation differences can be the byproduct of the unique historical circumstances that members of an age cohort experience during adolescence and young adulthood, when awareness of the wider world deepens and personal identities and values systems are being strongly shaped.
Instead, separate samples of each cohort are compared over time.
Another conclusion from the graph is that each younger cohort is more supportive than the cohorts that preceded it.
Baby Boomers were more supportive in 1987 than members of the Silent Generation, and remained that way throughout.
We will compare their behaviors and attitudes with those of today’s older adults.
And to the extent that we can, we will also compare them with older adults back when they were the age that Millennials are now.