AAPOR 2022 Poster

Are Generational Gaps or Life Stage Segments Better at Explaining Societal Differences?

The AAPOR Annual Conference is the premier forum for the exchange of advances in public opinion and survey research. The Conference allows attendees to network with colleagues, learn the latest updates and trends in the field and make new connections. The meeting highlights innovative research and includes short courses and discussion forums for attendees of diverse disciplines from around the world.


For many years, society has been defined by generational value conflicts (Twenge, 2010).  As people are living longer and having children later in life (Smith, 1999) within a quickly changing technological world, we hypothesize that life stages rather than generational differences might be better predictors of attitudes and behaviors across a wide variety of social topics.

We used a large modular survey of 23,595 respondents fielded in July of 2021 to look at which variable, life stage or generation, explains the most variance across a wide variety of social topics.  The topics explored directly through behavior and attitudinal statements in the survey included Automotive, Food & Beverage, Finance, Fashion, Health and Beauty, Health, Self-Care, Media, Advertising, Sports, Technology and Travel.  We ran a one-way ANOVA across all 800+ variables and compared how much variation can be explained by either life stage or generation.  

As an extension, we ran the same tests on a look-a-like modeled dataset (Ma, 2016) of 131,000 respondents to see if the results still hold in these modeled databases commonly used as seeds for activation purposes in direct marketing.

Experts Behind the Research

Aimee Vella Ripley

Vice President of Research
[email protected] 

Aimee has worked as a researcher for more than 15 years and has been with The Harris Poll since 2007. Her work is primarily in the public release space where she leads large-scale research engagements with a variety of clients including National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Aimee’s most widely recognized research is the annual Stress in America survey conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA).

In addition to her work at Harris, Aimee is the Chair of AAPOR’s Journalist Education Committee which aims to ensure polls are understood and accurately reported on by journalists.

Aimee holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and is based on Long Island.

Amy Mulvey

Research Manager, Media and Communications
[email protected]

Amy has provided market research and consulting services to her clients for nearly six years and currently serves as a Research Manager for the Media and Communications practice, providing end-to-end management of research engagements designed specifically for public release and thought leadership platforms. 

Her expertise spans a variety of industries including financial services, healthcare, non-profit, and technology, and she has previously worked on projects for organizations including Pfizer, Google, Principal, Wells Fargo, NFCC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AAAS, Glamour, and L’Oréal Paris to name a few. 

Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and is based in Chicago. 

Edward "Paul" Johnson

VP, Analytics

Paul graduated from BYU with a M.S. in Statistics. He spent 15 years working with innovative ways to combine behavioral and survey data with a specialty in discrete choice models.  His research efforts have been featured at AAPOR, ESOMAR, ARF, Insights Association, and Sawtooth conferences.

Alyssa Haskins

SVP, Analytics

Alyssa has been with Harris over 20 years and has experience in survey design and implementation of international and domestic survey research projects. Her current role is in ensuring representativeness of survey research as a methodological resource on sampling and weighting issues, with expertise among subgroups such as Hispanics and LGBT. Alyssa graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo where she received a bachelors degree in both Psychology and Health & Human Services.  Alyssa had her post-graduate work in Public Administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jamie Lehr

Senior Data Scientist, Analytics

Jamie has been with Harris for over 8 years and has experience in both client facing and operational roles, with a focus on research for public release.  Her current area of responsibility is in ensuring representativeness of survey research as a methodological resource on sampling and weighting issues. She graduated from St. John Fisher College with a B.A. in Mathematics and Statistics.

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