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Mar 01

Millennials Taking an Increasingly Dim View of Media, Churches

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How positively or negatively do Millennials view society’s most venerable institutions compared to to older generations?

| BY DONALD LIEBENSON

 

If the early primaries are an indication, Millennials are looking to have as big an impact on the election as they did in 2008, when they propelled Barack Obama into the White House. Millennials—young adults ages 18-32—surpassed Baby Boomers in 2015 to become the most prolific generation yet. The times, as Bob Dylan once prophesized, are changing again.

How will Millennials’ views of society’s most venerable institutions transform them in the 21st century? How positively or negatively do they view them in comparison to older generations? A new Pew study finds that “younger generations tend to have more positive views than their elders on a number of institutions that play a big part in American society.”

Bernie Sanders, who captured 86 percent of the Millennial vote in the New Hampshire primary, gets it. “By definition, young people are idealistic,” he told Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show.” ”They look at a world with so many problems and say, ‘Why not?’”

Not surprisingly, Millennials comprise the highest percentage across all age groups of those who believe technology companies have a positive impact on the country (77 percent vs. 59 percent of seniors, or the so-called “Silent Generation.” The same for small businesses (86 percent) and colleges and universities (72 percent).

A majority (57 percent) also view labor unions positively.

An interesting finding, considering how hard their generation was hit by the economic collapse and prolonged recovery, is that Millennials are also more likely to view banks and financial institutions as having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country today, the Pew report states.  Forty-five percent of Millennials have this optimistic view of banks, compared with 39 percent of Gen Xers, 37 percent of Baby Boomers and 40 percent of seniors.

But Millennials’ opinions of religious organizations and the media have taken a more negative turn in the past five years. Since 2010, Millennials rating of churches and other religious organizations has fallen 18 percentage points, from 73 percent to 55 percent. A previous Pew study found that young adults are more likely to consider themselves as spiritual rather than religious, with only about four-in-ten Millennials saying that religion is very important in their lives.

Millennials’ views of the media have also taken a turn for the worse. Just 27 percent—down from 40 percent in 2010–say that it has a positive impact, which is on par with Gen Xers and seniors (26 percent) and 23 percent of Baby Boomers.

Source: Millennials Taking an Increasingly Dim View of Media, Churches

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