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The Next America - Demographics 2012 / Demographics

Millennials Still Optimistic in Tough Times

July 25, 2012

Young adults, many of whom are making their first trip to polls in November, are known for what they may never have (tenured jobs) and for what they’ll have plenty of (student loans).

A Newsweek article about Millennials, which the publication defined as those who are under 35, recently asked, “Are the Millennials the screwed generation?”

Individuals born since 1981 face difficulties entering the workforce during the Great Recession and, as the nation’s most educated to date, burdened by school loans. Still, they remain optimistic about their economic future, according to the study. 

 

Millennials, sometimes also called Generation Y, GenNext ,or the Net Gen, characteristically are more confident, upbeat, self-expressive, and open to change, according to a new Pew Research Center study. They are also less religious and less likely to serve in the military.

Only 2 percent of male Millennials are veterans, compared with 13 percent of Baby Boomer and 24 percent of the Silent Generation at comparable times of their lives.

Further, this generation bestowed the most support on President Obama in 2008, voting for him by more than a 2-1 ratio

“Politically, they were the first generation of young people since the 1970s to vote quite differently than older people. Their votes were of consequence to the ‘change election’ in 2006 and Barack Obama’s victory in 2008,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center during the unveiling of the report. 

But their political enthusiasm has cooled significantly, partly because they believe the president has not kept his promise of change. The study found that three out of 10 blame Obama himself. This generation, however, is still more likely to vote Democratic.

 Key highlights:

  • Millennials are more racially diverse than older generations: 14 percent are black; 19 percent are Latino; and 5 percent are Asian.
  • This generation is less likely to be foreign born than Generation X. Some 11 percent, however, have at least one parent who is an immigrant.
  • More than 50 percent have some college education.
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