Pew report highlights emerging U.S. generation gap

Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:07am EST
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By Ed Stoddard

DALLAS (Reuters Life!) - Thought America's "generation gap" had narrowed? Think again.

According to a new report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the gap on some issues has widened into a chasm, notably on issues related to gay rights and tolerance.

"Young people are more accepting of homosexuality and evolution than are older people. They are also more comfortable with having a bigger government, and they are less concerned about Hollywood threatening their values," said the report, which was released on Wednesday.

The report also found "Millennials" (aged 18-29) were far more likely than their elders from "Generation X" and the "Baby Boom" to be unaffiliated with a specific faith. Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980, Baby Boomers from 1946 to 1964.

It draws on recent Pew surveys to paint a portrait of emerging generation gaps among Millennials and other demographics. It uses older surveys by Gallup and others to compare the views of age groups at different times in recent history.

For example, the report said that Pew's massive 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey found young adults to be almost twice as likely to say homosexuality should be accepted by society as those 65 and older, 63 percent versus 35 percent.

Overall in the 30+ age group only 47 percent said homosexuality should be accepted.

The report also said surveys showed that less than a third of Millennial adults saw Hollywood as a threat to their moral values compared to 44 percent of those 30 and over.   Continued...