The pattern suggests a strong period effect in the direction of greater acceptance of interracial dating.This changing climate for race relations means that each new cohort came to adulthood more supportive of interracial dating, but the continuing cultural forces also persuaded some individuals to change their views on this topic at some point during adulthood.These are major events (wars, social movements, scientific or technological breakthroughs) that are likely to have a simultaneous impact on all age groups, though, again, their impact is often greatest among the young because their values and habits are less fixed than those of other age groups.The most common approach to trying to understand how each of these processes plays out is through , which uses data collected at different times to track changes in the attitudes and behavior of cohorts as they age.It is also possible that the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the U. population over this period contributes to the trend, since blacks and Hispanics are more supportive of interracial dating than are whites.Whenever we can, the Pew Research Center will undertake this sort of cohort analysis.Generational differences can be the product of three different but overlapping processes, and it is often difficult to disentangle each from the others. The biological impact of aging and the changing roles that people play as they grow older typically produce changes in attitudes and social behaviors over time.In short, young people may be different from older people today, but they may well become more like them tomorrow, once they themselves age. Generation differences can be the byproduct of the unique historical circumstances that members of an age cohort experience during adolescence and young adulthood, when awareness of the wider world deepens and personal identities and values systems are being strongly shaped.
And to the extent that we can, we will also compare them with older adults back when they were the age that Millennials are now.
Their collective identities typically begin to reveal themselves when their oldest members move into their teens and twenties and begin to act upon their values, attitudes and worldviews.
America’s newest generation, the Millennials, is in the middle of this coming-of-age phase of its life cycle.
Unfortunately, for many measures of the public’s attitudes and behaviors, long-term trends of the type shown here for interracial dating attitudes do not exist.
Consequently, the best available evidence for detecting many generational differences are comparisons of attitudes and behaviors across age groups from a single point in time, or, at best, over a relatively short period of time.Most cohort analysis does not involve interviews with the same individuals at multiple points in time.