The Millennial Generation Is…

The largest in American history.  There are now 95 million living Millennials, 10 million more than Baby Boomers and twice as many as Generation X.

The most ethnically diverse in American history.  Four-in-ten Millennials are non-white—African-American, Asian, Hispanic, or of mixed race. One-in-five have at least one immigrant parent. Among Millennials under 18, nearly half are non-white.

The most tolerant in American history.  Over 90% of Millennials believe interracial dating is acceptable and only a quarter believes that immigration levels should be decreased. More than eight-in-ten Millennials rejection the contention that women should return to their traditional roles. Most Millennials believe that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle and that gay marriage should be legal.

Highly dependent on and adept in the use of new technology.  Over 90% use the Internet, the highest of any generation. Three-quarters use social networks, again more than any other generation. Among adult Millennials, 80% have a Facebook profile. Ninety percent of adult Millennials also have a cell phone, with six-in-ten saying it is a “necessity.”

Well-behaved and high achieving.  Thanks to Millennials, negative social indicators (youth crime, pregnancy, drug usage, etc.) are at historically low levels and positive indicators (academic achievement test scores) are at their highest in decades. Seven-in-ten have received post-secondary education, by far the highest of any American generation.

Deeply involved in community service.  More than eight-in-ten Millennials participate in community service in high school and more than a quarter say there is a very good chance they will do so in college, the highest percentage ever. Thirty-four percent of adult Millennials participated in community service in 2010 and twice that number consider it “an honorable thing” to do. Millennials participate in such service at more than twice the rate Generation X did when that generation was young.

More optimistic about America’s future and more positive about the federal government.  Three-quarters of Millennials, in contrast to two-thirds of older Americans, are confident that America can solve the problems facing the country. Millennials are also much less likely than older generations to believe that government is wasteful and inefficient (42% vs. 61%) or that the federal government controls too much of our daily lives (48% vs. 56%). They are much more likely to feel that government is run for the benefit of all (60% vs. 46%).

More politically active than other recent generations of young Americans.  Youth voting turnout consistently increased as Millennials entered the electorate during the first five elections of the 21st century. While in the 2010 midterm elections it was slightly lower than in 2006, youth voting was still higher than in comparable midterms during the 1980s and 1990s when Generation X was the same age that Millennials are now. Two-thirds of eligible Millennials are registered to vote and six-in-ten did so in 2008.

A solidly Democratic and liberal generation.  Millennials currently identify as Democrats over Republicans by about 1.5 to 1 and are the first generation in at least four to contain more self-perceived liberals than conservatives. Only 10% are Tea Party supporters.

In favor of governmental activism, economic equality, and international multilateralism.  A June 2010 survey showed that a majority of Millennials favor the government actively trying to resolve societal and economic problems rather than staying out of society and the economy to the greatest extent possible (58% vs. 24%) and want the government to guarantee all Americans at least a minimal standard of living instead of letting each person get along economically on their own (53% vs. 29%). Most Millennials believe that the best way to protect national security is through building strong alliances with other countries rather than relying primarily on our military strength (58% vs. 24%).

A lot like their GI Generation great-grandparents.  Both are “civic” generations in their attitudes and behavior, focused on collective action to reform existing institutions and build new ones. Such generations are also optimistic about the future despite the turbulent and difficult times during which they grow up. 

The Millennial Generation is… about to change America forever