This Is Us: Portrait of a Changing America

A nation in time, in seven charts. 
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Pew Research

Change is complex, particularly at the scale of a nation 300 million strong.

It doesn't proceed smoothly or at the same rate among all age, racial, or ethnic groups. And yet: some of the movements—like the increase in support of gay marriage or interracial relationships or the decline of religious affiliation—are so clearly defined as to seem inexorable now. 

Pew Research's new report, The Next America, provides a portrait of these demographic and cultural shifts. It's filled with fascinating details about who Americans are, what we believe, and how both of those things have changed over the last several decades. 

We're a nation returning to its immigrant roots

Where more people are marrying outside the racial group they were born into.

We're a nation that increasingly supports gay marriage 

And the legalization of marijuana, though the trend is less clear and the generational differences larger.

Each successive generation has fewer members who are religiously affiliated, but the large majority of people still claim a religion.

And we know that we're a divided nation, politically, financially, racially, and by place of birth.

 

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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