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Geeks vs. Hipsters

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Then vs. Now: How things have changed from 1982-2012

Those kids today... you may be the parent of a teenager and wondering what you've gotten yourself into. But do you have it worse than parents of the past? We all know that kids will be kids, but how much do they change over the course of a generation?

The typical teenager in the early 1980s was rocking a Walkman and had just seen E.T. Today's average kid? He has a cellphone in his pocket, he listens to Rihanna, he's less likely to finish high school and he's more likely to practice safe sex.


1982: Olivia Newton-John, Survivor, Joan Jett and the Blachearts

2012: Adele, Rihanna, Katy Perry


1982: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, E.T.

2012: Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2

Video Games

1982: Coleco Vision, Atari

2012: PS3, Wii, Xbox 360

Sports Stars

1982: Pete Rose

2012: LeBron James

Work Money

1982: $60.30 per week

2012: $130.oo per week

Cell Phones

1982: What?

2012: 3 out of every 4 teens has a cellphone

Marijuana Use

1982: 30% of teens

2012: 20% of teens

Career Aspirations

1982: Engineering, Biology, Business Management, Physical Sciences, Agriculture and natural resources

2012: Healthcare, Business, Education, Social Sciences, Visual & Performing Arts


1982: 52% of kids 15-17 had their driver's license

2012: 43% of kids 15-17 had their driver's license

SAT Scores

1982: 997

2012: 1,011

Graduation Rate

1982: 77.5% of high school students graduated

2012: 72% of high school students graduate


1982: 79% white, 11.6% black, 6.3% hispanic, 1.3% Asian

2012: 54% white, 21.5% hispanic, 17% black, 5% Asian, 1.2% Native Americans

College Plans

1982: 58.3% go to college, 35.4% work full time, 6.3% other

2012: 79.2% go to college, 18.7% work full time, 2.1% other

Top Foreign Languages

1982: 18% Spanish, 9.2% French, 2.5% German

2012: 30% Spanish, 8% French, 2.1% German

Sex and Safety

1982: 55% of kids use contraception during their first sexual experience

2012: 81.5% of kids use contraception during their first sexual experience