Research by CPC Fellow Elder featured in New York Times stories about current economic downturn and its affects on young people

Jul 13, 2010

The New York Times has recently published two articles about young people in the United States and the current economic recession. Both articles refer to research by Glen H. Elder, Jr. about children in the Depression era and how they coped with economic hardships. The most recent New York Times story, Will the Millennial Generation Achieve the American Dream?, is part of the Teaching & Learning series, an informational blog for students, teachers, and parents.

Elder is a Carolina Population Center Faculty Fellow and Research Professor of Sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Will the Millennial Generation Achieve the American Dream? (New York Times/The Learning Network blog, July 13, 2010)

"A Business section article looks at how the recession is affecting the millennial generation, and how it might continue to influence them far into the future. After reading the article, how, in general, do you think this generation will be affected by the recession? Do you think achieving the classic "American Dream" is still possible for young people?"
American Dream Is Elusive for New Generation (New York Times/Business, July 6, 2010)

"The Great Depression damaged the self-confidence of the young, and that is beginning to happen now, according to pollsters, sociologists and economists. Young men in particular lost a sense of direction, Glen H. Elder Jr., a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, found in his study, "Children of the Great Depression." In some cases they were forced into work they did not want -- the issue for Scott Nicholson.

Military service in World War II, along with the G.I. Bill and a booming economy, restored well-being; by the 1970s, when Mr. Elder did his retrospective study, the hardships of the Depression were more a memory than an open sore. "They came out of the war with purpose in their lives, and by age 40 most of them were doing well," he said, speaking of his study in a recent interview."

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