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What Do We Think of Ourselves?

BY RELEVANT ISSUE 58 / LIFE June 13, 2012

A recent study asked younger twentysomethings how they feel about their generation. The short answer? Most 18- to 24-year-olds don’t like themselves—or their peers—very much.

Only 19 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds have a positive view of their generation compared to their parents’. Forty percent of these Millennials judge their own generation more negatively than their parents, while another 40 percent is neutral on the topic. A surprisingly high number of them don’t think their generation is any better than previous generations.

These negative responses are mostly related to the attitude of Millennials. For instance, the highest differentiation reported by Millennials was that they are more tech-savvy than their parents, but even that was seen as a neutral fact. And although 6 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say their generation is more open-minded and tolerant than their parents’, the same percentage say the Millennial generation is worse off and faces more challenges.

Many of those challenges are tied to career problems and the economy. A full two-thirds of Millennials say they are somewhat or very worried about finding a successful or rewarding career. And 76 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say jobs and unemployment are the most critical issues facing the country.

But not everything is entirely pessimistic, as 40 percent of Millenials believe they will be better off than their parents—an isolated bright spot in a generation that seems fairly discouraged.

[By the Numbers]

76% 18- to 24-year olds who say modern-day Christianity “has good values and principles”

64% Millenials who say modern-day Christianity is “anti-gay”

73% 18- to 24-year olds who believe the U.S. economic system favors the wealthy

51% Millenials who believe having an abortion is “morally wrong”