Posted by Jay Livingston
“Kids today are just so much better than kids of a generation or two ago.”When’s the last time you read an op-ed or magazine article that began like that. Never is my guess. Instead, you’re much more likely to find complaints about college kids who, when they’re not whining about being victimized by trivial and unintended slights, are demanding an end to free speech. Also popular are Millennials with their sense of entitlement and their refusal to work and jobs they find unfulfilling. And of course binge drinking, gangs, “Teen Mom,” sexting, the hook-up culture, grade inflation, and probably others I can’t think of at the moment.
But in fact most of the important trends among America’s youth are in the right direction. Crime, for example, has decreased sharply in the last 20 years.
Arrests for non-predatory offenses like drug violations and weapons offenses have followed a similar pattern.
Since 1995, arrests for liquor and weapons offenses are down by about two-thirds, drugs by about half.
Arrests, especially for non-predatory crimes, net only the more serious offenses. But self-report surveys, which include less serious matters, also show a decrease in the use of drugs and alcohol.
As for those Teen Moms, the trend on TV (more) runs directly opposite to the trend in the real world (less).
And it’s not because kids are having more abortions.
Part of the reason for the lower birth rates might be that teens are not as sexually active.
Finally, kids are staying in school. The overall dropout rate is half what it was in 1990. [Source]