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Archive for May, 2012

The Newest US Generation, the Plurals

Another name for Gen Z is the Pluralist Generation, called the Plurals by Magid Generation Strategies. The first of the Plurals were born in 1997, now at 68 million young people in the US. The marketing researchers surveyed 1056 Plurals (age 8 to 15) in 2012. This newest generation was shaped by the recession, comfort with ethnic diversity (only 54% are white, the last generation to have a white minority), and shared gender roles. Many were parented by Gen X. Fewer live in two-parent households (two in three live in a two-parent household compared to three in four Millennials).

In terms of their values, Plurals and their Gen X parents are less likely to believe in the “American Dream” and to focus on individual success rather than the group, compared to Baby Boomers and their Millennial children. Plurals are influenced by the longest recession since the Depression. When asked what are the most important qualities for young people to develop, Plurals answered honest, respectful, trustworthy, and hard working. When asked what’s important, girls were more motivated to succeed, as 66% of girls but only 47% of boys mentioned school grades and 50% of girls and 40% of boys felt it is important to get feedback from parents or teachers. Girls place more value than boys on being respectful, ethical and trustworthy, while boys value being loyal and fun to be with. Girls are as likely as adult women (38%) to report they have experienced sexism. The First Generation of the 21st Century,” Magid Generational Strategies, April 30, 2012. http://www.magid.com/node/216/done?sid=238

Global Women Politicians

A Foreign Policy magazine survey of 43 global women leaders reported that 84% believe that having more female leaders would alter their government’s policies and 65% believe they would bring more peace.[i] Most had experienced sexism while in office and they said it is the greatest obstacle to more women entering politics, but only about a half are feminists. Examples of sexism are being told they should be home with the kids, sexual harassment, exclusion from informal networks, and condescending attitudes. The Scandinavian countries are the best place to be a woman while Afghanistan is the worst. The women politicians’ main suggestion for how to increase the number of women politicians was to establish gender quotas as in at least 95 countries.

[i] Margaret Slattery, “The FP Survey: Women in Politics,” Foreign Policy, May 2012. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/23/the_fp_survey_women_in_politics

Global Demographic Changes Indicate Instability

In The Graying of the Great Powers, Richard Jackson and Neil Howe predict trouble ahead. Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest youth-bulge with over a third of the population, more than double the number in the developed world. The youth bulge could lead to instability in sub-Saharan Africa and some Muslim nations, including Afghanistan and Iraq, until at least the 2030s. As the youth bulge increases, “so does the likelihood of civil unrest, revolution, and war.”[i]  Historic global aging never seen before hit developed nations first. This phenomenon is creating a demographic gulf between them and developing nations, but will eventually reach there as well as people live longer and numbers of births decrease. As populations age their economic growth is threatened, and probably will cause the influence of the developed world to wane, according to the authors of The Graying of the Great Powers. The exception is the US due to immigration and relatively high fertility rates that likely will maintain its influence.

Demographic change will impact Russia with its population decrease, China will have to handle an age wave just when it becomes a middle-income country, and some countries will face intense competition between faster and slower growing ethnic and religious groups. As countries rapidly modernize, stress follows from “some combination of globalization, urbanization, rising inequality, family breakdown, environmental degradation, ethnic conflict, and religious radicalism.” Demographers Jackson and Howe predict that the disparities between graying countries with their shortage of youth labor and countries with large youth populations will come to the forefront in the 2020s to make it the decade of greatest global danger.

[i] Richard Jackson and Neil Howe. The Graying of the Great PowersCenter for Strategic and International Studies, 2008, p. 193.


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