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The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  683 ratings  ·  82 reviews
The America of the near future will look nothing like the America of the recent past.

America is in the throes of a demographic overhaul. Huge generation gaps have opened up in our political and social values, our economic well-being, our family structure, our racial and ethnic identity, our gender norms, our religious affiliation, and our technology use.

Today's Millennials
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by PublicAffairs
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Start your review of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown
Paul Taylor oversees social, demographic and generational research for the Pew Research Center. He has produced a book that is both a reference volume and an interpretive narrative. The theme is the economic realities of the generations and the problem of caring for a growing graying population.

Charts, graphs and narrative drill down into the inter-generational economic well-being of the four groups: Millenials, Xers, Boomers and Silents. The differences are just as striking as the more widely k
After finishing this book, I came across this, the Pew Research Center's statistics on library usage, with regards to the Hennepin County Library. Interesting stuff, the kind of stuff you could waste an afternoon online pondering its implications, weaknesses. The use and power of libraries is definitely something that is changing through the years, changing but remaining as important a community resource as ever but, having been provided all of these facts by the Pew, how much can we really make ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I study aging and am a nerd (according to my husband) so this book was right up my alley. I enjoyed the comparisons across generations, racial/ethnic groups and countries. I very much appreciated the author’s transparency in discussing the methods of their surveys in an appendix.
Melissa Stacy
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A very educational nonfiction title observing a variety of statistics within generational demographies-- primarily between the old and the young (the Baby Boomers and the Silents vs. the Millennials and Gen-Xers). The author cites a plethora of statistical information (the great bulk of which came from Pew Research polls) in order to build to the final chapter, which examines the terrifying problem of the unsustainable entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) that will soon ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Taylor serves up a thoughtful-yet-approachable analysis of a whole lot of data around generational differences and the seismic shifts that have taken place in the US in the past 10-15 years thanks to technology, immigration, and economic reset. The central thesis: This is not your grandma's America anymore, but you can understand and respond and change too. While much of the discussion centers on the juxtaposition of Millennials and Boomers in today's society, I feel like it's aimed squarely at ...more
If you love piecing together a story from data and graphs, this is the book for you! There’s a treasure trove of cool graphs from Pew reports here exploring the composition, lives, and beliefs of different generations in the U.S. (Silent vs. Baby Boomers vs. Gen X vs. Millennials), and Taylor does an admirable job of stitching them together into a coherent narrative.

My only complaint was that it felt a little... unfulfilling? I would have liked to see a little more analysis of why to go with man
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
A dense book loaded with statistics. In fact, I couldn't finish it. Worthwhile if you are a health policy analyst, a marketer, or a wonk dealing with generational issues. I got enough out of it to wonder if I will see the breaking points in my lifetime. The book did make me more informed about the crises our economy and society will face in the next 50 years due to having fewer younger workers paying into entitlement programs.

Goodreads needs a category for "abandoned" in cases where one began a
Dawn Edgar
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
as is typical for my gen (x), I resent being ignored in this book in addition to everywhere else. baby boomers got it wrong when they made it all about "me" without considering consequences for their children. in every. single. way. and they call my gen lost. we are not lost, we are pissed. stop discounting the gen that is supporting you and running the world while you enter your golden years. that is all. ...more
George P.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
 Paul Taylor, The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown (New York: PublicAffairs, 2014). Hardcover / Kindle

The Next America is not a book about how to contextualize the gospel in contemporary America. At least, that was not Paul Taylor’s intention in writing it. And yet, as I read his fascinating new study, I couldn’t help but notice its missiological significance.

Drawing on reams of research by the Pew Research Center, which he serves as executive vic
It's amazing how much can change in five years. While The Next America does make some points, and references statistics that relay worthwhile information, many parts are already outdated enough that the notions they espouse are quaint at best, and hopelessly out of touch at worst.

The prime offender is the fact that Taylor repeatedly tries to hammer home just how "optimistic about the future" Millennials are. Fast forward to the present day, and most people under the age of 40 seem almost resigne
An interesting fact-filled book focused more in laying out a common set of facts to discuss the looming set of generational problems than in advocating any particular solution. Taylor runs down the contrasts between the two largest living generations, the Baby Boomers and the Millenials, in everything from religiosity to marriage patterns to highlight the frictions between the competing interests of young and old. Relying on census and Pew Research data he thoroughly fleshes out the changes in p ...more
Les Simpson
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
While there are lots of interesting bits of data throughout the book, it is striking how much has changed in the 5 years since this book was written/published. For example attitudes about same-sex marriage and legalization of marijuana have obviously changed, with the former now being legal in all 50 states and the latter legal in more states every year. Also, in the age of the Trump presidency, I’m sure Millennials (and everyone else) are more engaged with news and politics than reported, and t ...more
Nathan Schneider
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture, research
Of course, the findings from research will soon be outdated, but the book provides enough historical data that we can see the direction of culture. It's especially interesting to see the way that living generations relate to each other in a number of different categories: religiously, politically, etc. I also read the book iGen this year by Jean Twenge, which is similar in a lot of regards, but focuses more on where we're at, rather than where we're headed. It was helpful to read them together. ...more
Timothy Liu
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Pretty good book heavy in statistics and facts. Sometimes it feels more like a list of statistics than a book, but the charts help illustrate an interesting story. The analysis done by the author (parts that weren't just stats) were well thought out and clever. ...more
Matthew Gilman
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
insightful but never talks about the future battle it often refers to between the different generations. just a string of statistics.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
A lot of interesting statistics showing differences between generations.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Fascinating. As a social scientist I love data about people trends!
Dave Cazeau
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Offers some good insight on how the US is evolving, and how we came to our current political climate... Use of the Pew Research statistics is helpful too.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent description of the trends in the US, and the implications for us all. Thoughtful, well-documented and engaging.
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of interesting data even though this book is already five years old.
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For it's time, eerily accurate. ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This book has a few interesting factoids, is written accessibly, and doesn't take too long to get through--but ultimately I wouldn't recommend it. It's fairly vacuous; I mean that not in the ultra-pejorative sense, but just that there's not much to it. It's light on policy recommendations, or even just conclusions from all of the demographic data it lays out. Granted, the book doesn't pretend to be much else, but I suppose I just couldn't believe that detailing political, demographic, and fiscal ...more
While many of the statistics within the book are interesting, I found the book largely dull and dry. On top of being repetitive, the book would spend pages explaining/breaking down a graph compiled from polling information. I honestly could have saved myself a great deal of reading by just looking at the graphs themselves as any intelligent person could figure out what they are indicating. Sometimes more information was provided from past polls, studies and such, but largely the graphs held thei ...more
This was essentially a giant amalgamation of Pew polling data. It's an amalgamation with a very clear narrative that is told accessibly and in a lively fashion, but an amalgamation of data is, at its core, what it is. The book focuses on many different aspects of the demographics of the different generations, ultimately in the service of an argument about rebalancing the major entitlements in favor of generational equity. I have one complaint, but it may be a kind of selfish one. I wish disabili ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

There is scarcely any major social topic -- generational relationships, religion, divorce, parenting, Social Security, technology -- that is not covered in some way in this fascinating book.

Taylor has a daunting task: Not only does he have to try to describe the differing views of Americans on a wide variety of issues, but he has to do it in prose form. That makes this not the easiest book to read, despite his great skill as a writer, because so much of his prose has to summarize numbers, mostl
Ed Bernard
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating look at the demographic changes that will define America for the next generation. The author is a fellow at the Pew Center, a non-partisan think tank that studies this stuff. It gave me a lot of hope for the millennials, who will be paying for the retirement of boomers like me. As the father of two millennials myself, I have a strong interest in what this generation is like. It was nice to see that they are basically unprejudiced, forward thinking, generous and wise. Not th ...more
Stuart Woolf
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book, in part, because of its heavy promotion on Pew's website. Unsurprisingly, the book reads like many of Pew's surveys: comprehensive, non-ideological, data-driven social science. While few who follow the news will be surprised by the content of this book, there are a few surprises - and Taylor's holistic analysis of various social trends is among the best I have read anywhere.

One chapter (regarding digital technology) and part of another (regarding futurism) were written by diffe
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Because I work in PR, demographics oriented books like this are always great "figure fodder." This book is no exception, however, it goes quite a bit farther than that. Attempting to Mark major demographic shifts and their effects on culture, politics, economics, and life in America, this book is a good read for anyone who would like a light introduction to our changing society and what we can expect in the future.

While I am a bit weary of books which try to explain the difference between bloom
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This very well researched (Pew Research) and written book delivers on explaining the changing demographics and persona of Amercians and what they mean to each of us, across generations.

The social, racial and economic shifts that we see and experience are explained using historical facts as well as survey data. If you are a boomer who got into technology, social networking et all early-on, you may identify with the millennials, but to them, it's all they have every known! The author puts "it" ou
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after reading a review of it in The Boston Globe. The book presented a lot of information, which I found interesting and thought provoking. It is easy to forget how small changes eventually transform society, and how society has changed. Technology has evolved so quickly and these changes will only increase, hopefully positively impacting the quality of life. This book made me think to remain open minded, embrace change and stay positive. There were some upsides to the book, but the ...more
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Paul Taylor is the executive vice president of special projects at the Pew Research Center, where he oversees demographic, social and generational research. Taylor is the author of The Next America, a new book examining generations and the country’s changing demographics. From 1996 through 2003, he served as president and board chairman of the Alliance for Better Campaigns. Before that, he was a n ...more

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“America isn't breaking apart at the seams. The American dream isn't dying. Our new racial and ethnic complexion hasn't triggered massive outbreaks of intolerance. Our generations aren't at each other's throats. They're living more interdependently than at any time in recent memory, because that turns out to be a good coping strategy in hard times. Our nation faces huge challenges, no doubt. So do the rest of the world's aging economic powers. If you had to pick a nation with the right stuff to ride out the coming demographic storm, you'd be crazy not to choose America, warts and all.” 5 likes
“There's no evidence from decades of Pew Research surveys that public opinion, in the aggregate, is more extreme now than in the past. But what has changed -- and pretty dramatically -- is the growing tendency of people to sort themselves into political parties based on their ideological differences.” 1 likes
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