In these divided and difficult times, we wanted to know what Americans think about cogeneration — a strategy to bring older and younger people together to solve problems and bridge divides.

So we commissioned NORC at the University of Chicago to survey a nationally representative group of 1,549 American adults, aged 18 to 94, online and by phone, in March 2022.

The results are cause for optimism.

Report cover
Report cover

We found powerful and widespread enthusiasm about working across generations for change. We also found notable, and in some cases surprising, differences in perspective by generation and race. We found challenges and roadblocks, too.

Today we released our report, Cogeneration: Is America Ready to Unleash a Multigenerational Force for Good? Here are the five key findings:

 

  1. People of all ages want to work across generations to help others and improve the world around them.
  2. While interest is widespread, young people, and Black and Hispanic people of all ages, are especially keen to work across generations.
  3. The fit is a powerful one: Young people want to learn from older ones; older people want to share what they know. And vice versa.
  4. Older and younger people want to work together on some of the same issues — but there are striking differences by age and race.
  5. Despite strong interest in working across generations, fully half of respondents cited a range of obstacles preventing them from acting on it.

Want to learn more?

Check out this discussion of the findings, hosted by Encore.org Co-CEOs Marc Freedman and Eunice Lin Nichols, and Boston College professor Cal Halvorsen.

“The overarching message from this study is clear,” write Encore.org Co-CEOs Marc Freedman and Eunice Lin Nichols. “America’s growing age diversity represents an extraordinary opportunity to come together in joy, understanding and action. Let’s seize it.”

Encore.org acknowledges the generous support of AmeriCorps Seniors, the M Center for Excellence, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation for their support of this research. Thanks also to the Eisner Foundation, the May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, RRF Foundation for Aging, New Pluralists, and MacKenzie Scott for their support of Encore’s work bringing generations together.

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