Each emerging American generation of adolescents and young adults tends to have a distinctive relationship with its parents. For the Baby Boomers of the 1960s and 1970s, that relationship was often conflicted, even adversarial. For Generation X in the 1980s and 1990s it was frequently distant and disrespectful. By contrast, the interactions with their parents of most of today’s Millennial Generation (born 1982-2003) are close, loving, and friendly. That’s a very good thing because, to a far greater extent than for the previous two or three generations, Millennials in their twenties live with their parents, and even grandparents, in multigenerational households. To the surprise of many members of older generations, most Millennials—and their parents—believe the experience is beneficial and even enjoyable. It may even help America in the years ahead.
A Pew survey conducted last December indicated that nearly two-thirds (63%) of young adults 25-34 knew someone who had recently moved back in with their parents. Almost three in ten (29%) said that they were currently living with their parents. That is nearly three times the percentage of those of that age who lived with their parents in 1980 (11%). Multigenerational households, once seen as a lagging trend, have been growing as a share of households since 1980, rising from 12 to 16 percent over the past three decades.
Martha Beck, as with many of her Boomer Generation peers, finds the principles to guide her life though a deep exploration of her inner self.
Boomers, like other “idealist” generations before them, believe life should be about a search for truth that their inner consciousness reveals.
The generations that come along after this “idealist” type, such as Generation X, and the Lost generation of F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1920s, react against the previous generation’s efforts to change society according to notions of some revealed truth, but join the “idealist generation” in encouraging the celebration of individual effort and risk-taking.
As a result, “reactive” generations spark a renaissance of entrepreneurship in our economic life, even as overall confidence in our economic institutions declines as problems with an inner-directed approach to leadership become clear.
Based on the continuing rise in the popularity of Facebook, which adds another 100 million users about every six months, and the overall increase in the percentage of those users who have unfriended someone, more than a half a billion people experienced the sting of rejection on the site in 2011, compared to approximately 158 million in 2009. Some of this increase may simply be a reflection of the larger universe now involved in managing their friendships. The odds of wanting to hold onto all of your friends, after all, are likely to decrease as the group gets larger and larger.
But another reason for this increase may be the shifting generational demographics of Facebook users. Today, more than half of Facebook users are over 35. In 2009, that group represented only one-third of all users. As older generations catch up with the proportion of Millennials (born 1982-2003) participating in Facebook, the site's users are less likely to share the Millennial penchant for openness, sharing, and group-oriented behavior.
Originally published in Good News
March 26, 2012
Most members of the Millennial generation (those born between 1982 and 2003) believe viral videos can make a measurable difference in the world. And despite its creator's recent tribulations, the most viral video in Internet history, Kony 2012, is giving them a chance to prove they're right.
Within five days of its release, the video—created by the California-based nonprofit Invisible Children about Lord's Resistance Army head and indicted war criminal Joseph Kony—had been seen by 80 million people, a major step toward creating global awareness of Kony’s crimes.
The video's tagline stated mission is to "make Joseph Kony famous," but the larger goal is to help capture Kony by the end of this year. Until then, the video’s producers want everyone interested in the cause to join the publicity effort by putting up posters and stickers about Kony on April 20. While it remains to see whether the efforts will pay off in this case, all of these tactics to translate virtual interest into physical action are hallmarks of earlier successful organizing efforts that demonstrated the emerging power of the Millennial generation.
Two weeks after the video went viral, the European Union and the United States announced their financial support for an African regional force of 5,000 troops with authority to cross borders and track Kony and his army down, putting the offline campaign right on track to achieve Invisible Children's goal.
'Kony 2012' and Youth Activism
Host: Warren Olney
On Monday, the Supreme Court will begin an unusual three-day session, hearing oral arguments on a case of clear political, philosophical, and constitutional significance—the 2010 Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”). Every 80 years the Court has decisively entered a sharply divided political process to provide its own answer to the fundamental question of American politics: what is the scope and purpose of government? Each time in the past, it has attempted to reinforce the generational and party alignments of a previous era in the face of challenges from the beliefs and partisan preferences of an emerging civic-oriented generation like today’s Millennials (born 1982-2003).
The New Republic’s health care expert, Jonathan Cohn calls the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act review the “case of the century.” He cites the real possibility that this particular Supreme Court may be willing to reject the legal precedents established during the New Deal by attempting to redefine anew the scope and purpose of federal power.
If it does the Court will be continuing a historical cycle driven by generational and partisan factors that few Court observers have noticed.
Professor Jean Twenge is continuing her long war against America’s young people. Now it’s with an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology with the imposing title, “Generational Differences in Young Adults’ Life Goals, Concern for Others, and Civic Orientation.” The article uses data from a number of surveys (some meaningful and others not) to once again claim that the Millennial Generation (born 1982-2003) is a “me” generation largely comprised of self-centered, narcissistic people, focused largely on their own concerns rather than the “we” or societally-focused, problem solving generation that we and well-respected analysts such as Neil Howe, one of the originators of generational studies, believe it to be. The problem with Twenge’s current writing, as with much of her other work, is that it is faulty both in method and interpretation making it almost impossible to trust or believe. There are three major flaws in the article.
Is technology hurting or helping Millennials and future generations?
Recently, Pew Research published the findings of its survey of over 1000 technology experts on the possible effect on the Millennial Generation of growing up in a media saturated, hyper-connected world. We were flattered to be included in their sample of experts, but would nevertheless urge caution in over-interpreting the results.
In 2008, as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fought for the Democratic presidential nomination, many baby boomer women did not understand how a majority of their millennial daughters and granddaughters could support a man against the first woman in history with a realistic chance of winning the White House.
In reality, the readiness of these young women to base their votes on something other than the sex of the candidates was a sign of their strength and self-determination. Bolstered by legislation such as Title IX, which required equality of the sexes in the administration of public education, those boomers created a cohort of high-achieving, confident young women.
Members of the Millennial Generation (born 1982-2003) differ sharply with older generations on what constitutes success in life. Consider the Life is good Playmakers, the nonprofit organization of the Life is good Company, where Steve Gross holds the title of Chief Playmaker.
“Play is serious business,” says Gross, a social worker who is on a mission is to help kids overcome life-threatening challenges. ““Millions of our nation’s youngest children have experienced profound trauma in its many forms, including domestic violence, abuse, neglect, natural disasters, and severe poverty.”
So last summer, Gross and his band of millennials jumped into their lime-green cars and traveled 1,200 miles in 30 days to spread the power of joy and optimism to thousands of children from Boston to New Orleans. Click here to read more.
Two Oscar favorites this year focus on the role of strong, young Millennial Generation daughters trying to heal the wounds of their Boomer parents’ marriages in two widely separated, very different cultures. Both films use the relationship of father and daughter — not mother and daughter — to bring a contemporary sensibility to the challenges of marriage.
A Separation shows the difficulties of family life in urban Iran, while the other, The Descendants, takes place in the idyllic setting of suburban Hawaii. Despite these differences in settings, by resting their dramatic tension on this often unexplored family relationship, both movies signal the coming of age of the Millennial Generation and the increasing centrality of its attitudes and beliefs in American life.