President Trump’s youngest son, Barron, was born in 2006, more than four years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and four years after American troops first entered Afghanistan with the goal of driving out the Taliban. Barron, in other words, has never lived in a United States where there weren’t troops fighting in Afghanistan; on Monday night, his father announced that this fight would continue.
It isn’t just Barron whose life has overlapped with a nation in conflict. In 2015, we looked at the extent to which all Americans have lived through any number of years in which the country has been at war. In light of Trump’s decision to keep that fight going, we decided to revisit the graphic at the heart of that analysis, showing how the nation’s armed conflicts have defined Americans’ lives.
At left, below, the U.S. population by birth year. (The most recent available data is from 2016.) Each bar is color-coded by the percentage of time that people born in that year have lived in a United States that has been fighting a war. At right, the breakdown of those conflicts over the span of an American’s life. The definitions here can be a little squishy, admittedly, but the general markers for when conflicts began and ended give a sense of how much of our lives the country has been at war. (For the sake of clarity, any period of conflict in a year is counted as a year at war.)
It can be hard from that graphic to gauge how much time an American born in a particular year has seen the nation at war. So, we’ve broken that out below.
It isn’t just Barron, of course. Nearly half of Ivanka Trump’s life. Forty-four percent of Donald Trump Jr.’s. More than half of Eric Trump’s and Tiffany’s. Largely thanks to the years that the United States has been fighting the seemly interminable war in Afghanistan, anyone born in 1982 or later has spent at least half of his or her life in a nation at war.
We learned Monday that this trend won’t end anytime soon.