MELTDOWN

The Recession Generation

During the Great Depression, kids were widely perceived as cautious, neurotic, and even outright boring as they matured, the result of their traumatic experience watching their country's most trusted institutions collapse. Now experts are wondering if today's crop of recession babies will be similarly affected should the economic downturn prove truly severe and prolonged, The New York Times reports. Part of the answer might depend on the age of the kids in question—in the Great Depression, for example, the older children were able to understand and adapt to tough times better than their younger, more victimized, siblings, and benefited from their later military experience in World War II. The parallels may be difficult to understand for decades, as much depends on the attitudes of parents and children today, whose outlook may prove drastically different than that of the Depression generation. “The impact depends on the context and the mood of the time and how children understand the spirit of the times,” author Neil Howe told the paper.