In a 2016 study, Howard Schuman and Amy Corning, researchers with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor’s Institute for Social Research, compared years of survey data on the Vietnam War and 9/11 to predict how generations of Americans might remember the attacks.
Their study supported the “critical years” hypothesis, which suggests that events happening when people are between 10 and 30 years old have the greatest likelihood of defining generations. People older than 30 may consider other, earlier events in their lives as more important to them, while those younger than 10 may be too young to fully understand the significance of an event.
“Earlier events learned about indirectly from school or media … cannot have the same emotional impact regardless of their objective significance,” wrote Schuman and Corning in the study, published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research.
Some experts think the attacks are what sets the Millennial generation, whose members were born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s, apart from the next one, Generation Z, born beginning in the mid-1990s.
“It is 9/11 that is the defining and dividing event," Jack Dorsey, president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, told Business Insider in 2019. "Either you remember it and all the emotion that goes with it or you don't, and if you don't, then you're in Gen Z.”
Many younger Americans have grown up in a post-9/11 world, where developments like stricter airport security measures, Islamophobia or the U.S. war on terror have always been a reality.
Friday, September 11, 2020
Leslie Bonilla at VOA: