The survey also asked Americans to choose a decade during which America was greatest, which provides an opportunity for some broader analysis of patterns by demographic group. As you can imagine, for example, whites are much more likely to remember the 1950s through rose-colored glasses than ethnic and racial minorities are.
Similarly, Americans’ nostalgia for certain decades also seems pretty closely tied to when they personally were young, with exceptions for decades when the economy was kind of lousy. (For example, few people remember the 1970s fondly, regardless of their year of birth.)
Born in the 1980s or 1990s? You’re most likely to name the 1990s as the period when America peaked. Born in the 1960s or 1970s? You’ve most likely mythologized the 1980s. Born in the 1950s or earlier? You’ll probably choose the earliest decade offered in this multiple-choice question, the 1950s.
Why might this be? I’ll let John Oliver take it from here.