Younger and Older People Unite Despite Demographic Changes, According to a Report that Highlights Recommendations to Spur Opportunities that Strengthen Families, Communities and Economy.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Generations United and The Generations Initiative today released a new report that finds Americans of all generations are aware of the country's changing age and race demographics and the vast majority are accepting of them, dispelling the "generational conflict narrative." The report, Out of Many, One: Uniting the Changing Face of America, which includes the results of a nationwide survey by Harris Interactive, reveals 72 percent of respondents believe that publicly funded programs targeted at specific age groups such as K-12 education or Social Security aren't burdensome responsibilities, but investments that benefit all generations.
"The new report challenges assumptions about the changing demographics and elevates intergenerational solutions that strengthen our economy, families, and communities," said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. "It makes policy recommendations which will capitalize on our growing demographic diversity while smashing policy and program silos that cause age segregation."
The report includes results of a new public opinion survey on how Americans feel about the changing face of their community. When presented with data that shows 80 percent of Americans over 65 years old are white and 50 percent of Americans under 5 years old are of other races, 66 percent of respondents were optimistic about opportunities presented by the changing age and racial make-up of America's communities. Among age groups, younger and older people reported the highest levels of optimism and excitement about new neighbors, suggesting they are ripest for engagement at the community level, given the right opportunities. Respondents' confidence in policymakers was low across generations, however, with only 36% agreeing that elected officials addressing the changing make-up of our communities.
"The demographic change requires fresh thinking on how to respond to the changing needs of all generations," said Hilary Pennington, director of The Generations Initiative. She noted that the first step is looking at areas where the interests of the young and the old align.
"How can we change our infrastructure to meet the transportation needs of people who don't drive cars?" Pennington said. "Can multigenerational housing models satisfy young people's need for affordable housing and older people's need for assistance? How can we adjust our labor practices to improve both entering and exiting the workforce?" She added, "We will synthesize these insights into a framework for action."
The report offers recommendations that involve innovative intergenerational approaches to help catalyze opportunities provided by demographic changes through four focus areas – transportation, workforce, housing and civic engagement – to strengthen families, communities and economy. Examples range from incentivizing stronger workplace development plans and flexibility policies to facilitating homesharing as a way to address the student debt crisis while supporting aging in place.
The report was released at a National Press Club event, featuring a panel discussion of the poll results and report recommendations moderated by Atlantic Media's Ron Brownstein. Panelists included Angela Glover Blackwell, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink; Eugene Steuerle, Richard B. Fisher Chair Urban Institute; William H. Frey, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Vanessa Cardenas, Vice President of Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress. Experts, who authored papers in the report, are available for comment:
- Overall Report and Demographics
Donna Butts, Executive Director, Generations United; and Hilary Pennington, Director, The Generations Initiative Media Contact: Alan King, Communications Specialist, email: email@example.com and ph: (202) 777-0116
Dr. Anthony P. Carnevale, Research Professor and Director, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
Media Contact: Andrea Porter, Director of Strategic Planning and Communications, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and ph: (202) 687-4922
- Civic Engagement
Shirley Sagawa, Acting Chief Certification Officer, National Conference on Citizenship
Media Contact: Anne Shoup, Associate Director for Press Relations, email: email@example.com and ph: (202) 481-7146
James Corless, Director, Transportation for America
Media Contact: David Goldberg, Communications Director, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and ph: (202) 412-7930
Erika C. Poethig, Fellow and Director of Urban Policy Initiatives, Urban Institute
Media Contact: Stu Kantor, Public Affairs Staff, email: email@example.com and ph: (202) 261-5283
About The Generations Initiative: The Generations Initiative is a network of leaders, organizations, and communities that work together to raise awareness and promote solutions to harness America's current demographic revolution to our country's advantage. It aims to build on the strengths of each generation to ensure our democratic and economic vitality. For more information, visit www.generationsinitiative.org
About Generations United: For nearly three decades, Generations United has been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged. www.gu.org
* Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States between September 17-19, 2013 among 2,044 adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuery omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
SOURCE Generations United; The Generations Initiative