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The Kids Are All Right (and These Surprising Statistics Prove It)

Originally posted in Yes! Magazine. 

CJCJ’s Mike Males pens an op-ed for Yes! Magazine detailing positive trends among American youth, such as declining crime, increasing education, and greater political tolerance. 

From the article: 

Americans under 25 are bringing a new era of tolerance, education, and vastly improved behaviors while older folks are acting worse. That isn’t starry-eyed idealism. It’s hard numbers. …

As California’s teenage youth population grew by 1 million from 1990 to 2015, Department of Justice, Centers for Disease Control, and census figures show their murder arrests fell from 658 to 88 (in Los Angeles and notorious Compton, from 269 to 8 ), violent crimes from 21,000 to 7,000, property felonies from 54,000 to 7,000, total criminal arrests from 220,000 to 63,000, gun killings from 351 to 84, juvenile imprisonments from 10,000 to 700, births from 26,000 to 7,000, and school dropout rates from 16 percent to 6 percent. College enrollment and graduation soared (from 34 percent to 47 percent). …

That large improvements among youth occurred in areas with very different conditions and policies makes them difficult for ideologues and experts to explain. Analyses shows repressive measures that were supposed to make youth safer, like higher drinking ages, teen driving bans, andcurfews, have either proven ineffective or made dangers worse. Little has been done to reduce staggering levels ofpoverty afflicting the young. College tuitions have soared, along withstudent debt.

The credit for improvements appears to lie with younger generations themselves. What experts like Princeton’s John DiIulio once considered the nightmare scenario—thousands more dark-skinned youth (“adolescent super-predators”) on the streets, less policed than ever — now looks like a beacon of hope in an America whose grownups, from exploding middle-aged drug and crime scourges to political regressions, act crazier every day.

Read the full article on Yes! Magazine »