Racial generation gap: Investing in youth of color matters for our collective future. 

Insights & Analyses

  • The racial generation gap has grown from 14 percentage points in 1990 to 27 percentage points in 2017. 

  • States closest to the US-Mexican border have the largest racial generation gaps while states on the east coast, such as Vermont and Maine, have the smallest. 

  • While Minnesota had an average racial generation gap, ranking 21 out of 51 states and territories, two of the state’s cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) were among the top 10 cities with the largest racial generation gaps.

Drivers of Inequity

The U.S. population is increasingly made up of people of color and immigrants, particularly among younger generations. At the same time, the White population is rapidly aging as baby boomers retire. These twin forces are widening the racial gap between the nation’s youngest and oldest people. The growing senior population that has aged out of the workforce is beginning to create additional societal costs in health care and Social Security, and funding for these benefits will derive from taxes generated by today’s workers.

Strategies

Grow an equitable economy: Policies to bridge the racial generation gap

Strategy in Action

The Geriatrics Career Development program helps New York City youth pursue careers in health care. This program annually helps 225 New York City youth from under-resourced schools in the Bronx and Manhattan pursue careers in health care. The program trains high school students to become health-care professionals with a focus on serving older adults. As part of the program, youth work directly with older adults in long-term care through paid internships, mentorship, and clinical training. Youth can earn up to five allied health-care certifications, so they can immediately find work and earn income while in college. Ninety-nine percent of the students in the program graduate high school and more than 150 have graduated from college. Learn more.

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