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Nov 02, 2005


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will spotts

I'd agree with your read of this statistic. It strikes me as peculiar that the age range seems to have a negative correlation. I'm curious how you would interpret this sub-trend?

Michael Kruse

I think older Americans in the 1960s had high rates of poverty and poor health care. The War on Poverty addressed many of these issues allowing longer lives, lives with more dignity, and adequate health care.

However, as we turned our attention toward older adults we turned it away from children and all the infrastructure that serves children. I think that led to more and more dysfunction. By the mid-1980s the public and private attention began to turn toward children again.

William Stauss and Neil Howe point out that if you watch movies and TV from 1950s and early 1960s the children are portrayed as sweet cherubic creatures (The Beaver.) By the early 1970s (also the advent of Roe v. Wade) children become Rosemary’s baby. This children “as evil or at least an annoyance” attitude continues right into the 1980s like the fowl mouthed bratty kids in E.T. But in the mid-1980s you begin to see “Baby on Board” signs in cars and ever since parents have been becoming more protective. (I should also note that the kids that were born during this child hostile time are the much maligned Gen X.)

I don't think this explains it all, but I think these were important factors.

will spotts

Good point.

You're obviously right about the l'enfant terrible phenomenon. Perhaps it does reflect different cultural priorities that translate into quality of life issues for the respective populations?

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