The Lost Generation C project aims to redirect the public conversation about COVID-19, encouraging a national focus on longer-term consequences and mitigation strategies. The effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic are undeniably far-reaching. From decades of social science research, we know that the impacts of massive social disruptions like recessions, wars, and natural disasters can have lifelong consequences for youth. This pandemic will be no exception. 

The challenges presented by COVID-19 will not be resolved by distributing a vaccine and reopening schools and businesses. The pandemic is re-shaping the world our children inhabit. Our greatest challenge is protecting their future. We must create policies and practices to aid in recovery and build resilience for children and society.  

What lies beyond the immediate questions of restaurant reopenings and facial coverings? As social scientists with expertise in children and youth and inequality, we hope to ignite a robust conversation about the following: 

  • Based on previous research, how would experts describe the range of potential long-term consequences of experiencing childhood and youth under current pandemic conditions? 
  • How can social policies and programs mitigate the potential long-term harm associated with this pandemic for children and youth? 

We hope that by describing the pandemic’s potential long-term consequences, we can collectively identify concrete ways to mitigate the pandemic’s lifelong harm for children.  

We asked top researchers with expertise across disciplines to share their knowledge about the likely consequences of the pandemic and current conditions for children and young adults (under age 25). The goal is to compile and publish innovative, expert-informed ideas about how society can mitigate the pandemic’s worst long-term impacts on our youth.  

Thank you,

Beth Redbird
Sociology
Northwestern University

Christine Percheski
Sociology
Northwestern University

Simone Ispa-Landa
Human Development and Social Policy
Northwestern University

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Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University,Evanston, IL