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Are the Kids Alright When They Grow Up?

This is a teenager is an interactive data visualization by Alvin Chang about a group of American teenagers that have been tracked in a longitudinal study since 1997 (they are around 40 years old now). The video version of the visualization is embedded above.

A year from now, in 1998, a researcher named Vincent Felitti will publish a paper that drastically changes the way we think about these kids โ€” and their childhood.

The research will show that these childhood stressors and traumas โ€” called Adverse Childhood Experiences โ€” have a lifelong effect on our health, relationships, happiness, financial security, and pretty much everything else that we value. It will kickstart decades of research that shows that our childhood experiences shape our adulthood far more than we ever thought.

This is a good companion to a recent post, End-Stage Poverty Is Killing People in Safety Net-Free America.

Discussion  3 comments

Chris Koerner

As someone who grew up trailer park poor but was fortunate enough to go to college, this really resonates. I'm doing fine now at 42, but OOF. It's been an adventure and I still carry a lot of that trauma from childhood.

Barbara Roseman

This was a fascinating review, but it wasn't always clear to me which groups had overlap on the different issues. Clearly the ACE provides a great sorting metric, but I would have liked to see some info on which people in each group had health issues AND income issues. We know they are related, so it would have been interesting to see the intersections of those data. But great review of the existing study data.


I suppose the punchline is that future we're leaving those people and those younger is so much worse than what the people behind the study could even suspect in the late 1990s, so this.

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