Millennials - less religious, less trusting than previous generations.
One of America’s top think tanks, the PEW Research Center, has just completed a new study of Americans aged from 18 to 33. These groups of young Americans are called the Millennials. They now rank next in line to the Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and The Greatest Generation.
The PEW Report found that, overall, this generation is drifting away from the cultural norms of their parents and grandparents. The Millennials are turning away from the expectations of earlier generations and redefining their interactions with politics, religion, education, and culture.
PEW research found five core trends set the Millennials apart from the earlier generations of Americans.
(1) POLITICS. Half of the Millennials now describe themselves as politically independent.
Another 29% are not affiliated with any religion.
These percentages are at the highest levels of disaffiliation for the status quo recorded over the past 25 years. Millennials are voting as a block that is redefining modern politics and shifting political power between the generations.
(2) EDUCATION. Millennials are the first generation to have a bad experience with higher education. Returning GIs from World War II had the full backing of the US government to obtain college educations. Baby Boomers flooded the colleges for education with cheap National Defense Loans. Gen X’ers had their parents to help them with school funding.
This generation of Millennials are faced with obscene debt before they get their first adult jobs. Millennials are the first generation in our modern history to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty, and unemployment than the generations before them. They also became a generation that often failed to launch into modern society. Home foreclosures, massive job losses, wealth moving into extremely small platforms, all define an ugly new 21st century economy.
For many of the Millennials, buying a home or obtaining a first good job has escaped their financial ability to secure.
(3) FAMILY. Only 26 % of Millennials are married. They are starting families in their early thirties. This about 10 years later then their parents formed families. This means housing purchasing is later.
All of this has great meaning to an American economy in which 70% of the population is constantly buying something. Millennials are not buying appliances. They are buying high tech gadgets and communications platforms.
(4) TRUST. Only 19% of Millennials said to researchers that most people can be trusted. In the 1960’s, the Baby Boomers said that you couldn’t trust anyone over 30. After two wars and rise of a national security state, many Millennials are very distrustful of institutions and big corporations.
(5) DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY. Baby Boomers grew up before the digital age. Gen Xers grew up at the beginning of the era of personal computers and the Internet. Millennials are coming of age in a digital era where some 2 billion people around the world are connected through various social media platforms. Social and political power is now being reshaped into a place where large segments of the population now speak as one without regard to boundaries or geography.
(6) MORE LIBERAL. Millennials express more liberal thoughts on major issues facing America. PEW found that 57% say their views on social issues have become more liberal.
(7) BIG GOVERNMENT. The survey found that Millennials were the only generation that supports big government. They see a social need for more services that only big government can deliver. This includes universal health care coverage.
Editor's Note: To find out if you are a Millennial (for it is as much a state of mind as a number), go to Pew Research’s online quiz: