Age Gap May Increase Racial Divide

A generation gap between older whites and younger minorities has experts concerned that age differences in the population are influencing spending and public policy, Teresa Wiltz writes at America's Wire.

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In an article at America's Wire, The Root's senior editor, Teresa Wiltz, writes that an impending generational gap in several states between older whites and younger Latinos and African Americans has experts on race relations concerned that age differences in the population are influencing spending and public policy in areas such as education, transportation, immigration and infrastructure.

As the United States rapidly advances toward having a majority-minority population, whites continue to grow older, while -- whites are increasingly younger. Evidence is mounting that what has been considered a racial divide in the country is also crystallizing into a generational divide.

Newly released U.S. Census data demonstrate a rapidly widening racial age gap. The median age for white Americans is 41 but is 32 for blacks, 31.6 for Asians and 27 for Latinos. Across the country, 80 percent of senior citizens are white, while nearly half of the nation’s youth are of color. Such significant age disparities, some experts on race relations say, may be having far-reaching implications on resources invested in programs and areas benefiting younger generations.

“Where the old don’t see themselves reflected in the young, there’s less investment in the future,” says Manuel Pastor, a professor of geography and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California where he directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and co-directs the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

“Our racial divide has become a generational divide,” Pastor says. “There’s this image of an older generation drawing up the drawbridge just as the younger generation is coming of age in America.”

Read Teresa Wiltz's entire article at America’s Wire.

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