Plurals: America's Last Generation With Caucasian Majority

by , Dec 31, 2013, 6:50 AM
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Generations are not created by happenstance. Nor are they designated purely by a rigid range of years. Generations are formed, says Frank N. Magid Associates in an introduction to the Pluralist Generation by Magid Generational Strategies. A generations is formed, says the report, by a gestation of discernible patterns of demographic shifts, societal factors (a combination of the unique aspects of the society of their upbringing and historical events experienced at a similar age and life stage), and parenting styles, leading to the distinct mindsets that notably separate one generation from another.

Once the core tenets of a generation are discovered, analyzed and synthesized, a name surfaces that encompasses the generation in both its distinct mindsets and the impact it will have on society. According to the report:

  • The Silent Generation (born 1924-1945) got their name from their cautious and withdrawn natures, even in their youth, and for stoically refining the G.I.s’ grandiose plans.
  • The Baby Boomer Generation (1946-1964) was a cultural phenomenon of skyrocketing birth rates and economic growth in post-World War II America.
  • Generation X (1965-1976), the latchkey kids, represented the anxiety of that time and how that angst crystallized into a distinct, cynically pragmatic mindset for members of that generation.
  • The Millennial Generation (1977-1996), the first generation of increasing power in the Twenty-First Century, was the result of a second baby boom during a time of unparalleled focus on the health and well-being of children.

It’s been nearly 15 years since the Millennials were so named, says the report. Since then, a new generation has been born and we have seen significant changes in all facets of society. The research has recognized the demographic patterns, parenting styles and societal factors shaping the next generation.

  • The continual erosion of dominant media
  • The rapid emergence of fragmented and niche-based voices
  • The power of ground-up consensus building
  • The bold contrast of Gen X and Baby Boomer parenting styles
  • The growing conflicts surrounding demographic changes
  • The second-longest economic decline in U.S. history

Now, says the report, this newly named generation, the Plurals, are the most ethnically diverse generation to-date. Currently only 55% of Plurals are Caucasian, compared to 72% among Baby Boomers.

Ethnic Composition of US Generations 2012

Generation

Age

Caucasian

Hispanic

African American

Asian

Other

Boomers

48-66

72%

11%

11%

4%

2%

GenX

36-47

62

18

12

6

2

Millennials

16-36

58

20

14

5

3

Plurals

0-15

54

24

14

4

4

Source: MagidCensus, November 2013

The proportion of Caucasians in America will continue to diminish, creating a pluralistic society, one in which there isn’t a majority ethnicity or race. In 2019, live births in America will be less than 50% Caucasian, making the Pluralist Generation the last generation with a Caucasian majority.  In 2042, the entire population will be less than 50% Caucasian and America will literally become a pluralistic society.

Population And Birth Projection

 

Ethnic Group   % of Total

 

Caucasian

Hispanic

African American

Asian

Other

Live births 2019

49.6%

27.6%

13.0%

4.4%

5.1%

Population in 2042

49.9

27.4

12.0

7.1

3.7

Source: MagidCensus, November 2013

Plurals, as members of this generation will be known, are:

  • America’s last generation with a Caucasian majority
  • The most positive about America becoming more ethnically diverse
  • Existing in the most diverse social circles
  • The least likely to believe in the “American Dream”
  • Beginning to reflect the Gen X parenting style in their mindset
  • Affected by blended gender roles

According to the report, Plurals have a more positive opinion than older generations about America becoming more ethnically diverse. Nearly half of Plurals say it’s a positive thing and only one in nine think it’s negative.  Overall, Americans use “hopeful” and “proud” to describe their opinion about this ethnic shift, which suggests welcoming and favorable attitudes. Plurals too are “hopeful” and “proud,” but are also more likely than adult generations to say “pleased” and “energized,” which suggests an eagerness and willingness to take on their imminent responsibility of ushering in this change.

The four-decade decline of traditional two-parent households in America adds to the diverse environment Plurals are growing up in. The family unit, the most micro social circle for anyone, is experiencing its own metamorphosis, says the report. On average, about two in three Plurals live in a two-parent household, a decline from what Millennials (three in four) and Generation X (four in five) experienced at a similar age.

Living Situation of Children (Average % of Children Under 18 Living With Parents)

Generation

Years

Children Living With Parents

GenX

1965-76

82.9%

Millennials

1977-1996

73.5

Plurals

1997-present

68.7

Source: MagidCensus, November 2013

These, and more descriptive and delineated data, is included in the Magid introductory Whitepaper to the Pluralist Generation. And, Magid Generational Strategies will continue the research. They ask:

  • Media – How will the rise of the public, crowd-sourced voice affect the way Plurals view mainstream media sources?
  • Politics – America’s first bi- racial president will be the first president most Plurals will recollect. How will this memory impact the way they usher our transition to an ethnically pluralistic society?
  • Communication – Will the easy access, even by the youngest Plurals, to devices that enable fast and continuous communication change the way they learn to communicate?
  • Business – Because of the increasing obsolescence of the anchor store, and the steady growth of online retailers, will Plurals develop shopping patterns completely different than the generations before them?
  • Education – Will the upcoming Supreme Court case about affirmative action on college enrollment change the way the ethnically diverse Plurals obtain college education?
  • Religion – As contraception stokes the Church and State debate in their youth, will Plurals fight to keep the lines distinct in adulthood?

To read more from the Magid Whitepaper, please visit here.

 

2 comments on "Plurals: America's Last Generation With Caucasian Majority".

  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: December 31, 2013 at 1:15 p.m.
    CG: You prove aliens have been here from other planets who left some really bad diseases.
  2. Erin Read from Creating Results
    commented on: January 6, 2014 at 1:45 p.m.
    While the data related to ethnic composition is useful, I am concerned about the amount of opinion in this research brief. Ask any member of the Silent Generation if they are cautious and withdrawn and you'll hear some LOUD responses. They were burdened with that label thanks to a GI generation newspaper article that portrayed the group poorly. Folks in that age group have bristled against the characterization of "silent" their whole adult lives. These people were the leaders of the Civil Rights and Women's Rights struggles. Not-so-silent at all. Tell any member of Gen X that they are cynically pragmatic and that might indeed create angst. This generation defines themselves as practical, self-supporting and realistic. Not cynical. Again, the label was given them by their elders in the media. Most Gen Xers would rename themselves in a heartbeat. Why didn't these two groups get the same factual descriptions given Boomers & Millennials? I absolutely agree that there are distinctions among generations. I explore & apply those insights daily in marketing to 50+ers. Labels are inevitable & sometimes useful -- let's see if "Plurals" sticks. But let's also challenge the stereotypes.

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