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The Limits of Health Policy
Health Care Among the Disaffiliated Digital Natives

Millennials are marrying at low rates and exhibit high levels of political and religious disaffiliation, according to a new Pew Forum survey. As digital natives, they have a high degree of virtual connectivity with friends and relations, but they also register the lowest levels of social trust in generations. Here’s what the report has to say about marriage:

Millennials have also been keeping their distance from another core institution of society—marriage. Just 26% of this generation is married. When they were the age that Millennials are now, 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the members of the Silent Generation were married…Most unmarried Millennials (69%) say they would like to marry, but many, especially those with lower levels of income and education, lack what they deem to be a necessary prerequisite—a solid economic foundation.

There are some counter-intuitive findings here: for example, the survey found low social trust paired with high trust in government and business. Millennials seem to trust depersonalized, national institutions more than voluntary communities or local institutions. One way to summarize all of the data unearthed by Pew is to say that social capital is lower among Millennials than it was even for Boomers, and it is getting lower.

These and other findings have already given rise to a lot of generalized worries about Gen Y—for instance, that it will be more susceptible to demagoguery. But one very immediate reason for concern is the relationship between strong social capital and effective health care. A large number of studies have found that marriage, kinship networks and other forms of and social support correlate with good health, and are crucial for surviving major illnesses and even economizing on care costs. Moreover, the cultural and financial challenges eldercare presents become more acute the more socially isolated people become. These powerful but non-political factors, unfortunately, tend to be overlooked in a national health care debate that is overwhelmingly focused on policies and mechanics.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Inter-generation changes in percent of cohort married: -17%, -12% & -10%. Conclusion: whatever it was that caused the dramatic change between the Silents and the Boomers has been diminishing with time. Ergo, one way to summarize all of the data unearthed by Pew is to say that social capital is lower among Millennials than it was even for Boomers, and it is getting lower, and there’s an inverse relationship!

  • Charles Hurst

    The poor Millenial seems to be the topic today. The disconnect, lack of religion, lack of Patriotism. Lack of wishing for marriage and family. Do you want to know why? Because they have no morals on anything. No drive, no innovation unless it includes sitting in front of their reality TV and sending messages to their imaginary friends on Facebook.
    The problem is that the youth is not what the youth was thirty years ago. And no you cannot compare the usual obnoxious and irreverent young to what roams the streets today. And what is the underlying cause? Because we have had a total moral breakdown in this country. All under the guise of Progressive evolvement. That notion that all should be accepted
    and morality is relative.

    The Progressive indoctrination is now reaping what it has sown. You have told the youth that red ink is an angry color for grading test papers. That perhaps the color purple should be a more compassionate hue to cover the fact that the answer was incorrect. You have
    told them there shouldn’t be scores in a grade school baseball game. As some
    would have to feel the disappointment of losing. You have told them they should
    have an input on how they are to be raised. You have brought them up without
    the stability of the family unit. Told them that two fathers in homosexual
    lifestyle are the same as a mother and father. And that Two and a Half Men should be the handbook for parenting. That the child is a genius and the parent a dull, moronic, imbecile. That Bill Cosby’s example is outdated and irrelevant. That condoms should be passed out in junior high. That since the behavior would occur anyway we should condone it. You have
    informed them that they are not responsible for their behavior. That a variety
    of social disorders are the culprit out of their hands to control. And by all
    means pass the meds to excuse them. You have allowed them to spend their time
    on the internet and MTV, a constant barrage of Hollywood’s Tower of Baal, the
    golden calf who speaks through the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus. And
    when one of them dies of a drug overdose
    you simply remove the needle from his arm and make him a martyr for Nietzsche
    and advanced evolution instead of calling him what he was—a drug addict.

    This is your advancement in evolution. The new normal as you say, propagated by Modern
    Family. As art imitates life. Even if the artwork should have been burned.
    And the result of your indoctrination, Mr. Progressive? Where has this gotten
    us? How well have we advanced?

    We have regular occurrences of school shootings. From grade school to the college campus.

    We have a fourteen year old who stabbed her own sister forty times because she felt unappreciated.

    We have the Knock Out game—where youth thinks it is entertaining to beat to death a human being.

    We have seven-year-olds who attempted to have oral sex when a teacher left the room for fifteen minutes in Oakland.

    We have twelve year olds having actual sex.

    We have a fifty percent divorce rate.

    We have an epidemic of obesity.

    We have a huge increase of alcoholism and drug abuse in our youth.

    We have widespread meth now—from city to small town.

    Our college engineering and medical classrooms are filled with foreigners who actually understand basic mathematics.

    And we have a dishonesty that is rampant from our President to Wall Street—both who are destroying our economy. We have a nation of the verge of collapse.

    And what does the Progressive want? More propagation of deviance, abnormality, illegality and immorality. Because the Progressive worldview has done so well thus far.

    If we continue we will fall as not only my fiction predicts but as another reliable source states we must. A source that looks at the patterns of other fallen empires who followed the same course.


    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

  • Jim__L

    “These and other findings have already given rise to a lot of generalized
    worries about Gen Y—for instance, that it will be more susceptible to demagoguery.”

    So, what were the percentages of Obama voters among these various age cohorts, again? I think we can move that from the “risk” category to the “realized” category.

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