ASPEN, Colo.—"Demographic change," Paul Taylor explains, "is a drama in slow motion." The United States is undergoing two simultaneous transformations. It's becoming a majority non-white country, and a record number of Americans are aging.
But this kind of change is paradoxical—"even though it happens all around us, it's sometimes hard to see." As Taylor, who researches demographic and generational changes at the Pew Research Center, observed, "You don't hold a press conference to announce that we're becoming older or becoming majority non-whites."
Still, Taylor believes America did experience a watershed moment of sorts. It wasn't the election of Barack Obama. It wasn't the U.S. birth rate hitting a record low in 2013. Instead, it was the Super Bowl. Specifically this year's Super Bowl commercials.
During a talk at the Aspen Ideas Festival, sponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, Taylor showed three ads that aired during the football game or shortly thereafter.
One, a Cheerios commercial, showed a black father and a white mother telling their biracial daughter, via cereal, that they were expecting a baby boy (the ad was a sequel to a controversial spot that ran last spring).