According to a study being conducted by the Pew Research Center, millennials are deviating from the ways of life their parents and grandparents have. I assume I’m living proof of that, since my score was 97 on a scale of 0 to 100.
I guess it makes sense, though. I mean, given some of the questions asked. Interestingly enough, the results show that millennials are quickly deviating from what has been referred to as “family values” in the past few decades. I’m sure the ghost of Ronald Reagan is having a fit right now.
According to the data, half of millennials describe themselves as “politically independent” and about 30% say they are not religiously-affiliated. Pew states that these numbers are at or near the highest levels they have been during the quarter-century Pew has been conducting these kinds of surveys. While that is a staggering statistic, it makes absolute sense if you think about it. Millennials are generally described as people between the ages of 18 and 33 today (born between 1980 and 1996), meaning that the millenial generation has grown up in the aftermath of the Cold War. Our parents, Gen X-ers, grew up during the standoff and reaped the economic benefits of the 1990’s post-war economy. Our parents had a much more stable job market to work with, they were paid more (comparatively speaking), and most of us millenials had access to advancing technologies because of that.
However, millenials started coming of age during a time of fear, the post-9/11 America. Interestingly enough, NPR coined my high school graduating class (2005) as the “Class of 9/11”, since our first real observations of politics, both domestic and international, as well as observations of the changing American climate, came on the heels of that horrific day. Millennials have also had to endure economic instability (thanks, in part, to George Bush’s illegal wars), a battered job market (thanks to the economic instability), a bank bailout (because of underhanded business practices by companies like Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae), rising college tuition costs, and a system of government moving closer and closer to being a critical failure.
I remember when I was in my late-teen’s and would routinely fight with my parents about the differences between their generation and my own. They normally took the position that life wasn’t any harder for me than it was for them, but given the last several years of American history, one of them caved and admitted the challenges my generation faces are not the same challenges theirs faced.
Because of these challenges, millennials have been forced to think about not only their own well-being, but the well-being of people around them. All of those public service announcements we watched as kids are all of a sudden applicable. Millennials are more interested in unanimous equality — where, for example, gays are allowed to marry because, shit, they’re people too. Similar philosophies even apply to women’s reproductive rights.
Millenials have also bore witness to the failure that has been American drug prohibition and have become progressive enough to support full legalization of marijuana. Some, including myself, believe that a full legalization of narcotics would help the country in a multitude of ways.
We’re also the most ethnically diverse generation in American history. According to statistics used by Pew for the summary of this study, 43% of millennial adults (as well as about half of today’s newborns) are non-white, which could absolutely be influential in our political liberalism. I’m also sure that our detachment from religion factors into that liberalism as well.
On a more positive note, most millennials have been around the 1980’s/1990’s tech boom. Only handfuls of us remember NOT having a computer or a video game console in the home. Most of us fondly look back on the 56k modem and quickly come to the realization that the 56k was widepread as little as fifteen years ago and now we have cell phones that connect in less than ideal circumstances quicker than those modems did. It’s fascinating, at least to me and others who think similarly. To think, Mario went from looking like this:
… to looking like this:
… in less than 20 years.
To put that in perspective, it took around forty years for silent movies to make the transition into “talkies.”
Even Pew’s ability to collect this information is new by comparison, and is composed of technological breakthroughs millennial’s contributed to the world. Does anyone remember Napster? That utility was revolutionary, and was developed by Shawn Fanning, a millenial. Napster’s influence extends beyond it’s function. Some say it was an important stepping stone to modern social media. Technology has been our largest cultural vein, and now that millennials are entering the work force, there has been a boom in technology-based professions. The Zephyr Lounge is a prime example. This is publication that relies on the Internet for its continued existence.
The move to paper zine hasn’t quite been figured out yet.