Global Generation Gap

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

02/24/2004 - Generational differences fuel much of current social and political tension in Western Europe and the United States over globalization, nationalism and immigration, according to an in-depth analysis of results from the Pew Global Attitudes surveys. Older Americans and Western Europeans are more likely than their grandchildren to have reservations about growing global interconnectedness, to worry that their way of life is threatened, to feel that their culture is superior to others and to support restrictions on immigration. This generation gap is less pronounced in Eastern Europe and is virtually nonexistent in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Nevertheless, Americans and Western Europeans of all ages are less likely than people in other parts of the world to tout their own cultural superiority and are less wary of foreign influence. These findings are based on the Pew Global Attitudes Project's surveys conducted during 2002 and 2003 among more than 66,000 people in 49 nations plus the Palestinian Authority.

Throughout the world, there is a tension in opinion brought on by the push and pull of globalization. Strong majorities in all regions believe that increased global interconnectedness is a good thing. But globalization is more popular among the youth of the world. Everywhere but Latin America, young people are more likely than their elders to see advantages in increased global trade and communication, and they are more likely to embrace "globalization" per se. This hesitation among some older citizens to embrace the movement toward globalization may be due in part to latent nationalism. Trend data from the World Values Survey, in successive surveys over the past 20 years, show that for the last two decades older people in the U.S. and throughout Western Europe have consistently expressed more national pride than a generation of older.

Read the full report A Global Generation Gap on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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