Prevailing stereotypes about America’s youth, and particularly about young African Americans, are often wildly off base, either because they were never true, or because they have failed to keep up with the reality of generational change. Below is a selection of social indicators showing ways in which today’s younger generation exhibits substantially more positive behaviors than did Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers at the same age, with young African Americans often leading the trend toward cleaner living and greater personal responsibility.

Source: Institute for Social Research, the University of Michigan

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Phillip Longman

Phillip Longman is senior editor at the Washington Monthly and policy director at the Open Markets Institute.