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Preface This report represents the Pew Research Center™s most ambitious examination to date of America™s newest generation, the Millennials, many of whom have now crossed into adulthood. We began looking at this age group in 2006 in a comprehensive survey we conducted in association with the PBS documentary series, ﬁGeneration Next.ﬂ Our new report greatly expands on that seminal work. In the pages that follow we set out to compare the values, attitudes and behaviors of Millennials with those of today™s older adults. And to the extent that we can, we also compare them with older adults back when they were the age that Millennials are now. But we undertake this exercise in generational portraiture with a healthy dose of humility. We know that, in one sense, it™s too easy Œ and in another, it™s too hard. It™s too easy because most readers don™t need a team of researchers to tell them that the typical 20-year-old, 45- year-old and 70-year-old are likely to be different from one another. People already know that. It™s too difficult because, try as we might, we know we can never completely disentangle the multiple reasons that generations differ. At any given moment in time, age group differences can be the result of three overlapping processes: 1) Life cycle effects. Young people may be different from older people today, but they may well become more like them tomorrow, once they themselves age. 2) Period effects. Major events (wars; social movements; economic downturns; medical, scientific or technological breakthroughs) affect all age groups simultaneously, but the degree of impact may differ according to where people are located in the life cycle. 3) Cohort effects. Period events and trends often leave a particularly deep impression on young adults because they are still developing their core values; these imprints stay with them as they move through their life cycle. It™s not always possible to identify Œ much less unpack and analyze Œ these various processes. On many measures, the long-term trend data needed to make comparisons simply do not exist. Also, while generations may have personalities, they are not monolithic. There are as many differences within generations as there are among generations. Moreover, the composition of a given age cohort can change over time as result of demographic factors such as immigration and differential mortality. Finally, even if we had a full set of long-term data, we know that the discrete effects of life cycle, cohort and period cannot be statistically separated from one another with absolute certainty. Nonetheless, we believe this journey is worth taking. All of us know people who still bear the marks of their distinctive coming-of-age experiences: the grandmother raised during the Depression who reuses her tea bags; the child of the Cold War who favors an assertive national security policy; the uncle who grew up in the 1960s and sports a pony tail. We don™t yet know which formative experiences the Millennials will carry forward throughout their life cycle. But we hope that the findings presented here begin to shine a light on what they are like today Œ and on what America might be like tomorrow. Paul Taylor and Scott Keeter, editors
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Table of Contents About the Re port ..i 1 Overview1 2 Demography..9 3 Identity, Priori ties, Outlook..13 4 Technology and Social Media.25 5 Work and Education39 6 Family Values .51 7 Lifestyle57 8 Politics, Ideology and Civic Engagement 63 9 Religious Beliefs and Behaviors ..85 Appendices Survey Methodology ..110 Topline questi onnaire 113
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i About the Report This report on the values, attitudes, behaviors and demographic characteristics of the Millennial generation was prepared by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan ﬁfact tankﬂ that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Center does not take positions on policy issues. Findings in this study are mainly based on the results of a telephone survey conducted Jan. 14 to 27, 2010, on landlines and cell phones with a nationally representative sample of 2,020 adults. To allow for a detailed analysis of attitudes of the Millennial generation, the survey includes an oversample of respondents ages 18 to 29, for a total of 830 respondents in this age group. The margin of error due to sampling is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample and plus or minus 4 percentage points for the sample of Millennials. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The survey field work was carried out by Abt SRBI Inc. For a full description of the research methodology, see page 110. A note on terminology used in this report: Whites include only non- Hispanic whites. Blacks include only non-Hispanic blacks. Hispanics are of any race. Data from this 2010 survey were supplemented by findings from many other Pew Research Center surveys, including two relatively recent ones: a survey on changing attitudes toward work conducted Oct. 21-25, 2009, with a nationally representative sample of 1,028 respondents ages 18 and older and a survey on generational differences conducted July 20-Aug. 2, 2009, with a nationally representative sample of 1,815 people ages 16 and older.1 The chapter on demography (Chapter 2) is based on a Pew Research Center analysis of census data. The chapter on technology (Chapter 4) draws on the 2010 survey as well as on surveys conducted over the years by the Pew Research Center™s Internet & American Life Projec t. The chapter on political ideology and engagement (Chapter 8) is based on data from the 2010 survey as well as on our analysis of more than 20 years of data from polls on political and social values conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The chapter on religious beliefs and behaviors (Chapter 9) draws on surveys conducted over the years by the Pew Research Center™s Forum on Religion & Public Life, the General Social Survey and the Gallup organization. The following people at the Center carried out this project: Andrew Kohut, President Paul Taylor, Executive Vice President Scott Keeter, Director of Survey Research Kim Parker, Senior Researcher Rich Morin, Senior Editor D™Vera Cohn, Senior Writer Mark Hugo Lopez, Senior Researcher Gregory Smith, Senior Researcher Richard Fry, Senior Researcher 1 To view the report summarizing th e results of the work survey, go to http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/742/americas-changing-work-force. The report on generational differences is at http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/739/woodst ock-gentler-generation-gap-music-by-age .
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Chapter 1: Overview 1 Chapter 1: Overview Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials Œ the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium Œ have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They™re less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history. Their entry into careers and first jobs has been badly set back by the Great Recession, but they are more upbeat than their elders about their own economic futures as well as about the overall state of the nation. They are history™s first ﬁalways connectedﬂ generation. Steeped in digital technology and social media, they treat their multi-tasking hand-held gadgets almost like a body part Œ for better and worse. More than eight-in-ten say they sleep with a cell phone glowing by the bed, poised to disgorge texts, phone calls, emails, songs, news, videos, games and wake-up jingles. But sometimes convenience yields to temptation. Nearly two-thirds admit to texting while driving. (Chapter 4). They embrace multiple modes of self-expression. Three- quarters have created a profile on a social networking site. One-in-five have posted a video of themselves online. Nearly four-in-ten have a tattoo (and for most who do, one is not enough: about half of those with tattoos have two to five and 18% have six or more). Nearly one-in-four have a piercing in some place other than an earlobe Œ about six times the share of older adults who™ve done this. But their look-at-me tendencies are not without limits. Most Millennials have placed privacy boundaries on their social media profiles. And 70% say their tattoos are hidden beneath clothing. (Chapters 4 and 7). The New Face of America Millennials (ages 18-29) Adults ages 30 and older 61%14%5%19%Black Asian Hispanic White Other 70%11%5%13%Black Asian Hispanic White Other Source: December 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS) Do You Have a Profile on a Social Networking Site? % saying ﬁyesﬂ 417550306All Millennial (18-29) Gen X (30-45) Boomer (46-64) Silent (65+)
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Chapter 1: Overview 2 Despite struggling (and often failing) to find jobs in the teeth of a recession, about nine- in-ten either say that they currently have enough money or that they will eventually meet their long-term financial goals. But at the moment, fully 37% of 18- to 29-year- olds are unemployed or out of the workforce, the highest share among this age group in more than three decades. Research shows that young people who graduate from college in a bad economy typically suffer long-term consequences Œ with effects on their careers and earnings that linger as long as 15 years. 2 (Chapter 5). Whether as a by-product of protective parents, the age of terrorism or a media culture that focuses on dangers, they cast a wary eye on human nature. Two-thirds say ﬁyou can’t be too carefulﬂ when dealing with people. Yet they are less skeptical than their elders of government. More so than other generations, they believe government should do more to solve problems. (Chapter 8). They are the least overtly religious American generation in modern times. One-in-four are unaffiliated with any religion, far more than the share of older adults when they were ages 18 to 29. Yet not belonging does not necessarily mean not believing. Millennials pray about as often as their elders did in their own youth. (Chapter 9). Only about six-in-ten were raised by both parents Œ a smaller share than was the case with older generations. In weighing their own life priorities, Millennials (like older adults) place parenthood and marriage far above career and financial success. But they aren™t rushing to the altar. Just one-in-five Millennials (21%) are married now, half the share of their parents™ generation at the same stage of life. About a third (34%) are parents, according to the Pew Research survey. We estimate that, in 2006, more than a third of 18 to 29 year old women who gave birth were unmarried. This is a far higher share than was the case in earlier generations. 3 (Chapters 2 and 3). Millennials are on course to become the most educated generation in American history, a trend driven largely by the demands of a modern knowledge-based economy, but most likely accelerated in recent years by the millions of 20-somethings enrolling in graduate schools, colleges or community colleges in part because they can™t find a 2 Lisa B. Kahn. ﬁThe Long-Term Labor Market Consequences of Grad uating from College in a Bad Economy,ﬂ Yale School of Management , Aug. 13, 2009 (forthcoming in Labour Economics ). 3 This Pew Research estimate is drawn from our analysis of government data for women ages 18 to 29 who gave birth in 2006, the mo st recent year for which such data is available. Martin, Joyce A., Brady E. Hamilton, Paul D. Sutton, Stephanie J. Ventura, Fay Menacker, Sharon Kirmeyer, and TJ Mathews. Births: Final Data for 2006. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 57 no 7. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2009. Millennials™ Priorities % saying – is one of the most important things in their lives52302120151591Being a good parent Having a successful marriage Helping others in need Owning a home Living a very religious life Having a high-paying career Having lots of free time Becoming famous Note: Based on adults ages 18-29.
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Chapter 1: Overview 3 job. Among 18 to 24 year olds a record share Œ 39.6% Œ was enrolled in college as of 2008, according to census data. (Chapter 5). They get along well with their parents. Looking back at their teenage years, Millennials report having had fewer spats with mom or dad than older adults say they had with their own parents when they were growing up. And now, hard times have kept a significant share of adult Millennials and their parents under the same roof. About one-in-eight older Millennials (ages 22 and older) say they™ve ﬁboomerangedﬂ back to a parent™s home because of the recession. (Chapters 3 and 5). They respect their elders. A majority say that the older generation is superior to the younger generation when it comes to moral values and work ethic. Also, more than six-in-ten say that families have a responsibility to have an elderly parent come live with them if that parent wants to. By contrast, fewer than four-in-ten adults ages 60 and older agree that this is a family responsibility. Despite coming of age at a time when the United States has been waging two wars, relatively few MillennialsŠjust 2% of malesŠ are military veterans. At a comparable stage of their life cycle, 6% of Gen Xer men, 13% of Baby Boomer men and 24% of Silent men were veterans. (Chapter 2). Politically, Millennials were among Barack Obama’s strongest supporters in 2008, backing him for president by more than a two-to-one ratio (66% to 32%) while older adults were giving just 50% of their votes to the Democratic nominee. This was the largest disparity between younger and older voters recorded in four decades of modern election day exit polling. Moreover, after decades of low voter participation by the young, the turnout gap in 2008 between voters under and over the age of 30 was the smallest it had been since 18- to 20-year-olds were given the right to vote in 1972. ( Chapter 8). But the political enthusiasms of Millennials have since cooled Šfor Obama and his message of change, for the Democratic Party and, quite possibly, for politics itself. About half of Millennials say the president has failed to change the way Washington works, which had been the central promise of his candidacy. Of those who say this, three-in-ten blame Obama himself, while more than half blame his political opponents and special interests. To be sure, Millennials remain the most likely of any generation to self-identify as liberals; they are less supportive than their elders of an assertive national security policy and more supportive of a progressive Democratic Advantage Narrows Among Millennial Voters (%) 403037535462200020042008 Republican/Lean R Republican/Lean R Democrat/Lean D Democrat/Lean D Millennials Other age groups 2009 Note: Based on registered voters . Figures show net leaned party identification as yearly totals from 2000 through 2008 and quarterly for 2009. Source: Pew Reseach Center surveys
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Chapter 1: Overview 4 domestic social agenda. They are still more likely than any other age group to identify as Democrats. Yet by early 2010, their support for Obama and the Democrats had receded, as evidenced both by survey data and by their low level of participation in recent off-year and special elections. (Chapter 8). Our Research Methods This Pew Research Center report profiles the roughly 50 million Millennials who currently span the ages of 18 to 29. It™s likely that when future analysts are in a position to take a fuller measure of this new generation, they will conclude that millions of additional younger teens (and perhaps even pre-teens) should be grouped together with their older brothers and sisters. But for the purposes of this report, unless we indicate otherwise, we focus on Millennials who are at least 18 years old. We examine their demographics; their political and social values; their lifestyles and life priorities; their digital technology and social media habits; and their economic and educational aspirations. We also compare and contrast Millennials with the nation™s three other living generationsŠGen Xers (ages 30 to 45), Baby Boomers (ages 46 to 64) and Silents (ages 65 and older). Whenever the trend data permit, we compare the four generations as they all are nowŠand also as older generations were at the ages that adult Millennials are now. 4 Most of the findings in this report are based on a new survey of a national cross-section of 2,020 adults (including an oversample of Millennials), conducted by landline and cellular telephone from Jan. 14 to 27, 2010; this survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points for the full sample and larger percentages for various subgroups (for more details, see page 110). The report also draws on more than 4 We do not have enough respondents ages 83 and older in our 2010 survey to permit an analysis of the Greatest Generation, which is usually defined as encompassing adults born before 1928. Throughout much of this report, we have grouped these older respondents in with the Silent generation. However, Chapter 8 on politics and Chapter 9 on religion each draw on long-term trend data from other sources, perm itting us in some instances in those chapters to present findings about the Greatest Generation. What™s in a Name? Generational names are the handiwork of popular culture. Some are drawn from a historic event; others from rapid social or demographic change; others from a big turn in the calendar. The Millennial generation falls into the third category. The label refers those born after 1980 Œ the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. Generation X covers people born from 1965 through 1980. The label long ago overtook the first name affixed to this generation: the Baby Bust. Xers are often depicted as savvy, entrepreneurial loners. The Baby Boomer label is drawn from the great spike in fertility that began in 1946, right after the end of World War II, and ended almost as abruptly in 1964, around the time the birth control pill went on the market. It™s a classic example of a demography-driven name. The Silent generation describes adults born from 1928 through 1945. Children of the Great Depression and World War II, their ﬁSilentﬂ label refers to their conformist and civic instincts. It also makes for a nice contrast with the noisy ways of the anti-establishment Boomers. The Greatest Generation (those born before 1928) ﬁsaved the worldﬂ when it was young, in the memorable phrase of Ronald Reagan. It™s the generation that fought and won World War II. Generational names are works in progress. The zeitgeist changes, and labels that once seemed spot- on fall out of fashion. It™s not clear if the Millennial tag will endure, although a calendar change that comes along only once in a thousand years seems like a pretty secure anchor.
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