In Your Late 40s? You Are the Dumbest Generation

President-Elect is smart, but his early-60s birth cohort isn't
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2008 11:42 AM CST
President-elect Barack Obama listens to a question at a news conference in Chicago, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama is a pretty smart guy, but his generation—the strange, in-between group born from the late 1950s to mid-1960s—is, quantitatively, the dumbest on record, writes Neil Howe of the Washington Post. Sometimes called “Generation Jones” or “early Xers,” this group nabbed the fewest educational degrees, fewest professional jobs, and lowest standardized test scores.

The Joneses generally were the last born of big families and "got crowded out in the competition for parental attention, good teachers and good colleges." Joneses also earned fewer degrees than their Vietnam-dodging predecessors. Their environment was uniquely unfavorable—educational standards fell, divorce rates soared, and the “latch-key” paradigm stressed self-reliance, not trust in others. Now, they value soundbites over seminars, street smarts over book learnin’. They are, in short, much more Palin (born 1964) than Obama (1961).