Sunday, April 08, 2007

Old people don't like diversity: The other day, Steve Sailer wrote a VDare piece that included, among other things, the idea that many white college-age students long to get away from their boring surroundings to more ethnically diverse and thus more exciting environments. He then wondered in the comments section if a desire for diversity peaks during that age. Well, the General Social Survey doesn't interview children, but we can look at 18 plus. People were asked about the ethnic changes that will happen in the next 25 years, and their answers ranged from a very good thing (=1) to a very bad thing (=5). (Notice how everyone assumes the changes are inevitable, like they have already happened.) Here are the mean scores by age for whites:


"The growing diversity is bad" mean score--whites

Ages 18-25, 2.87
26-35, 2.91
36-45, 2.99
46-55, 2.95
56-65, 3.07
66-75, 3.25
76-85, 3.17


So, enthusiasm for diversity declines with age, especially from the mid-50s on. But I'm not sure if the correct interpretation here is that getting older turns you into a conservative, or if multi-culti messages have found fertile ground in impressionable youths. I suspect that the experience of having children turns many people's minds to safety issues, and what once looked stimulating now looks scary.

6 comments:

Robert Hume said...

What are the words that correspond to a "3" response?

Anonymous said...

Getting older often means having a more and more costly responsibilities like a family, home, career, etc...Diversity, which college kids and young adults think is so fun and edgy and wonderful costs me quite a bit of money. I want to live in a nice area (most nice areas aren't all that diverse or have the "right" kind of diversity) and people that have kids want them to be in a good school if they utilize public schools. Avoiding diversity is expensive. Nice areas with nice schools aren't cheap. Diversity also seems to bring with it social pathologies that the state andbfederal gov't wants to spend my money on, in ever increasing amounts.

Peter said...

Let's not lose sight of the fact that the responses from all the age groups cover a very narrow range. It's not as if the typical 25-year-old is twice as likely to embrace the idea of diversity as is the typical 65-year-old.

agnostic said...

I'll dig up the reference later, but the Terracciano / McCrae / Costa team of personality researchers have recently been looking at changes in adolescent personality. Their main work up to now was personality change in adulthood.

I think the relevant trait here is Openness to Experience, and they've found that it shows a curvilinear relationship with age: increases throughout adolescence, peaks during college, and slowly declines throughout one's mid-late 20s and afterwards.

Ron Guhname said...

Robert: 3 = neither good nor bad. This is the modal category.

Anonymous said...

I think your link to Hawks is broken.