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 1980 to 26 percentage points in 2020. 
  • Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico have the largest racial generation gaps while West Virginia, Vermont, and Maine, have the smallest gaps.
  • While Minnesota has an average racial generation gap, ranking 20 out of 51 (50 states plus Washington, D.C.), two of the state’s cities rank high among the largest cities in the US: St. Paul, MN ranks 2 out of 99 and Minneapolis ranks 5 out of 99.

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.


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

Strategy in Action

New York City-based program helps local youth pursue careers in geriatric health care. The SkillSpring program (formerly known as the Geriatrics Career Development Program) annually supports 225 New York City youth from under-resourced schools in the Bronx and Manhattan in pursuing careers in health care. Facilitated by The New Jewish Home, 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. Program participants 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 five in six participants have gone on to earn a postsecondary degree. Learn more.

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