Ideology Is Driving A Wedge Between Young White Men And Women, Making Them Unhappier
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From an AEI survey of 5000+ Americans:

Generation Z and the Transformation of American Adolescence: How Gen Z’s Formative Experiences Shape Its Politics, Priorities, and Future

November 9, 2023 | Daniel A. Cox, Kelsey Eyre Hammond, Kyle Gray

Basically, they are finding what Jean Twenge (here’s my review of her recent book) has been talking about for a decade: young people (teens and 20s, what they call Gen Z) are having less fun than young people did in the past. They tend to be lonelier, spend less time with friends, drink and drug less, have less sex, and spend more time alone staring at their phones.

But here are some interesting findings from the AEI survey:

… The Class Divide in Teen Experience

Americans raised in two-parent married households where both parents had a college degree have remarkably different experiences as teenagers than those raised in households where neither parent was college-educated. Participation in youth athletics is much more common among Americans raised in households with two college-educated parents. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans raised by parents with at least a four-year degree say they were involved in competitive sports during their teen years. In contrast, among those raised in households where neither parent had a degree, less than half (46 percent) report participating in sports. …

My impression is that sports participation was pretty egalitarian in America in generations past. 19th century pro baseball players were often college boys, but soon the big leagues were dominated by farm boys, followed by working class urban immigrants. Nowadays, baseball is pretty upscale socially in America. For instance, at around age 11, my son played on a team with Alex Van Halen’s son (who was a quite good leadoff hitter).

American teens are heading to therapy at growing rates. More than one in four (27 percent) Generation Z adults—including nearly one-third (31 percent) of Gen Z women—report that they spent at least some of their teen years talking to a therapist. Twenty percent of millennials also report that they talked to a therapist at some point during their teen years.

For Generation X and baby boomers, therapy was a fairly rare experience. Only 10 percent of Generation X Americans and 4 percent of baby boomers spent any time in therapy as teenagers.

So, that’s why young people these days are so much happier than previous generations of young people: all that therapy they are benefiting from!

For Americans under age 50, their parents’ educational background seems to make a difference. Among Americans under age 50 who were raised by college-educated parents, 69 percent said they went to church regularly for some or all of their teen years, compared to 56 percent of those without college-educated parents. …

For younger generations, the influence of parental political preferences is uneven: Democratic parents appear to more effectively inculcate a particular political orientation in their children than do Republican parents. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of Gen Z adults raised in a Democratic household identify as a Democrat. However, among Gen Z adults raised in a Republican household, only 60 percent say they are a Republican. The pattern among millennials is remarkably similar. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of millennials with Democratic-voting parents say they are a Democrat, but less than half (47 percent) of millennials raised by Republican parents identify as Republican today. …

Young women more than young men report feeling greater uncertainty about their sense of who they are. Sixty percent of Gen Z women and 46 percent of Gen Z men say that over the past year they have occasionally felt “uncertain about who they were supposed to be.”

Part of the gender divide may be attributable to the larger share of women who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Americans who identify as bisexual, gay, or lesbian report more frequent feelings of uncertainty about who they are than do most other Americans. Two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans who identify as bisexual say in the past 12 months they have sometimes felt unsure about who they were supposed to be. Close to half of gay and lesbian adults (48 percent) report feeling this way as often. Americans who identify as straight or heterosexual are far less likely to feel unsure about who they are; 29 percent report this feeling within the past year. …

Despite being less attached to either political party, Gen Z adults are much more liberal than conservative in their political leanings. Nearly four in 10 (39 percent) identify as liberal, 32 percent identify as moderate, and roughly one in four (26 percent) are conservative.

Previous research identified a growing gap in ideological orientation between young men and women. The gender gap in liberal identity is notable among members of Generation Z, but it’s relatively modest. Forty-three percent of Gen Z women identify as liberal, compared to 35 percent of Gen Z men. However, the gender divide among white non-Hispanic Gen Z adults is considerable. Close to half (46 percent) of white Gen Z women are liberal, a far greater share than white Gen Z men, among whom only 28 percent identify as liberal. Among Gen Z adults, white men are significantly more likely than white women to identify as politically conservative (36 percent vs. 26 percent). The ideological differences between men and women in other age cohorts are comparably modest.

Similarly, young men are turning against feminism.

… In the US, sexual orientation and identity vary considerably by age; however, generational patterns are not completely linear. Almost one in four (23 percent) Gen Z adults and 17 percent of millennials identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or something else. In contrast, nearly equal numbers of Generation X (6 percent) and baby boomers (5 percent) identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or something else.

Generational differences are primarily driven by the increase in bisexual identity among younger age cohorts. Thirteen percent of American Gen Z adults identify as bisexual, more than six times greater than the corresponding share of baby boomers.

Overall, there are only modest gender differences in sexual identity and orientation, but these differences are entirely driven by the large divisions among Gen Z adults. Nearly one in three (31 percent) Gen Z women identify as lesbian, bisexual, or something else. Fewer than one in five (16 percent) Gen Z men identify as gay, bisexual, or something else. The gender gap is nonexistent among Generation X and baby boomers and modest among millennials.

Sexual identity is strongly associated with political ideology, especially among younger Americans. Young liberals are far more likely than political moderates or conservatives to identify as something other than heterosexual. Nearly half (48 percent) of liberal Gen Z women and 29 percent of liberal Gen Z men identify as gay or lesbian, bisexual, or something else. Just over half (51 percent) of liberal Gen Z women identify as heterosexual or straight, compared to 69 percent of liberal Gen Z men.

Even though we’ve watched a vast, powerful effort to socially construct young women into identifying as bisexual or non-binary over recent years, liberal young women don’t believe in that social constructionist nurture over nature nonsense when it comes to sexual orientation: it’s obviously innate!

There is a massive gender divide in views about sexual orientation. Only 38 percent of Gen Z men believe being gay or lesbian is the result of genetic factors, while roughly as many (40 percent) say it is due to a person’s upbringing. In contrast, a majority (54 percent) of Gen Z women believe that sexual orientation is an innate characteristic.

Ideological differences also loom large in views about sexual orientation. Seventy-six percent of liberals say sexual orientation is innate. In contrast, half (51 percent) of moderates and only 27 percent of conservatives agree. Instead, 51 percent of conservatives cite environmental factors, along with just 30 percent of moderates and 12 percent of liberals. …

Paging Sir Francis Galton! You have an unexpected new batch of true believers in the power of nature over nurture: a whole bunch of young women with nose rings who have recently jumped on the bisexual/non-binary bandwagon and believe they did it not because it’s a fad, but because that’s who they really are at the genetic level.

Reported experiences of gender-based discrimination and mistreatment are more common among young women than older women. Half (50 percent) of Gen Z women and a majority (55 percent) of millennial women say that they have been mistreated or discriminated against because of their gender at some point in their lives. Generation X and baby boomer women are somewhat less likely to report having these experiences; r 42 percent and 39 percent say they have faced gender discrimination, respectively.

Notably, Gen Z men are much more likely than older men to report facing gender-based discrimination. Nearly one in four (23 percent) Gen Z men report this experience, compared to 20 percent of Generation X men, 14 percent of baby boomer men, and 6 percent of Silent Generation men.

Generational differences in reported experiences pale in comparison to ideological differences. Liberal women are considerably more likely than conservative women to report having ever experienced gender discrimination or mistreatment (66 percent vs. 30 percent). In fact, liberal women stand out on this item regardless of age. Sixty-six percent of Gen Z liberal women report having experienced gender discrimination, compared to 34 percent of Gen Z conservative women.

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