The decade jumped up on me, and it didn’t seem like that much had changed.
I’m pretty sure the same sweaters and shoes from the start of 2010 are in my closet.
On a second thought, the decade began with my son learning to read real books in first grade and my daughter ditching the diapers.
Parents of young children tend to be in pop culture hibernation until one day one kid is driving and the other is giving makeup tips.
Now I’m waking up to new music on their Spotify lists and learning how to better use Instagram. Those things weren’t known to me 10 years ago.
Like all teenagers, my children are developing opinions about the world around them. They definitely think more globally than I did at their ages and have more diversity among their friends and fellow students.
Instant communication and a world of information in the palm of a hand changes the way youth engage with each other and their communities.
Things are changing fast, and it can be a little dizzying.
Some would argue that I have another year to get used to it. Because the first year in the western calendar was called (long after the fact) 1 — not 0. Decades, centuries and millennia start in years that end in 1 and end on Dec. 31 or years that end in zero. Technically. But let’s just agree that our common understanding of decades works the other way around, as in the ’30s, the ’50s, or, as we just began, the ’20s.
Hey, let’s Charleston!
If we’re a bit dazed by the recently departed teens it’s not without reason. Really big stuff was happening all over the place.
The Pew Research Center tracks shifts in cultural, political and demographic measures. Pew has rounded up some of the milestones that occurred in the past decade.
In 2013, minority newborns became the majority. In 2015, the census determined 50.3% of children younger than 5 were racial or ethnic minorities.
In 2014, public school enrollment showed that nonwhite students surpassed that of white students for the first time. In the current school year, nearly 53% of students are of racial or ethnic minorities, a big jump from 35% in 1995.
It has been projected that the U.S. would eventually have no racial or ethnic majorities. Estimates put that eclipse in about 25 to 35 years.
The growing diversity among the youngest Americans shows that is happening now.
This will put more importance on addressing racial bias and equality, and the need to bridge differences.
Some past divisive issues won’t be so polarizing.
Just 15 years ago, about 31% of Americans supported same-sex marriage. That is now at 61% with the highest support (74%) coming from millennials. Most GenXers and half of baby boomers approve with the oldest Americans showing the most opposition.
The trend favoring same-sex marriage was already underway and in the majority when the Supreme Court made it legal in 2015.
Only about one in 10 Americans object to any form of marijuana use.
The largest support comes from the 18 to 29 age group, with 69% backing all use and 28% favoring medicinal use only. It lessens among older age groups, but remains favorable through the boomers.
States are already falling in line with 11 allowing recreational use and 33 legalizing medical marijuana. Fifteen states decriminalized small amounts of marijuana.
The religious landscape is changing as more Americans go to services a few times a year rather than monthly or weekly.
Several indicators show traditional Protestant and Catholic churches losing members, though combined still make up about 63% of the population. The biggest growth is in the “unaffiliated” identification.
Like other categories, gaps lurk among the age groups.
About 40% of millennials report as unaffiliated and 9% are of non-Christian faiths. By comparison, baby boomers are 17% unaffiliated and 6% are in non-Christian faiths.
Just four years ago, millennials became the largest generation in the workforce.
As baby boomers retire, their grandchildren are taking their place. Gen-X workers have remained about the same, further explaining why I haven’t felt much change in a decade.
The millennial perspective, particularly around the use of technology, will continue having major impacts.
Communication has been revolutionalized. The question is no longer about adopting tech personal use, it’s about which platforms or sites are used.
A decade ago, less than half of Americans were using a social media platform.
In 2018, more Americans said they receive their news through social media than print newspapers, though more still visited newspaper websites.
Often, people are directed to news sites after seeing an interesting headline on social media. Facebook is the most popular as a news source followed by YouTube, Twitter then Instagram.
Rather than actively seeking a print paper or going to a site, increasingly more consumers are waiting for news to be pushed to them.
This makes it crucial for the populace to be educated on how to vet online sources for legitimacy.
For the first time in more than 160 years, the average number of Americans living in a single home increased.
From 1790 to 2010, the average per household steadily dropped from 5.79 to 2.58. That changed in 2018 when it bumped up to 2.63.
The jump isn’t from a new baby boom but a change in living situations to include more multiple generations under a single roof or additions of roommates.
A 2016 measure shows 20% of people live in multigeneration homes (up from 12% in 1980).
Another report from earlier this year found 20% have a “doubled up” space with an extra adult, either a grown child or a boarder.
The economy has a large impact but so does health care as a record number of Americans are aging and prefer care in the home.
In another decade, my children will be full-fledged adults, hopefully employed or at least toward the end of their post-secondary education.
Then again, I may have to wait on claiming their bedrooms as an office. At least I can count on them for help uploading my latest TikTok video.