|Cover story -- Odyssey years|
Issue Date: December 28, 2007
Studies put Millennials under the microscope
Spanning the late teens to late 20s in age, the Millennials, Americas newest adult cohort, are inspiring a staggering amount of discussion and research. Sociologists, cultural commentators and maybe especially parents are eager to find out who they are, what they believe, and what on earth they are doing with their lives.
Research indicates that Millennials -- alternately called Generation Y, Generation Next, and Generation Me -- view the workplace differently from previous generations. Millennials are willing to forego work for parental support when they dont find jobs commensurate with their lofty ideals and personal goals. A study released in May by the HSBC banking group shows that more than a quarter of American 22- to 29-year-olds depend on parents to pay for major expenses. A Pew survey in January showed that just 21 percent of Gen Nexters born after 1980 consider themselves very likely to work their whole career for their current employer.
Yet Millennials are ambitious. They frequently name wealth and fame as important life goals. Correspondingly, they marry later. An influential study by Brookings fellow William Galston pegs the 2006 median age of marriage at 27.5 for men (up from 24.7 in 1980), and 25.5 for women (22.0 in 1980). According to the Pew survey, the majority of 18- to 25-year-olds use Facebook or MySpace -- Web sites where users create personal profiles to self-promote and self-express.
Sharing mental space with their individualistic concerns are their strong humanitarian interests. A fall 2007 survey from Harvards Institute of Politics asserts that 62 percent of four-year college students and 65 percent of graduate students participate in community service, and of those involved, over half do so at least once a month.
Catholic Millennials are no exception. In a recent survey of Catholic college students by William DAntonio and Vincent Bolduc, 82 percent rated helping others in difficulty and participating by volunteering and community service as very important.
In religious matters, Catholic Millennials mirror their
generations sense of cultural relativism. In the DAntonio-Bolduc
survey, only 19 percent attribute a greater share of truth to
Catholicism than to other religions.
National Catholic Reporter, December 28, 2007
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