Millennials are Most Disaffiliated Generation in History

By Christie Barakat 


A Pew Research study called “Millennials in Adulthood,” found that millennials represent the group least interested in political and religious institutions, making them the most disaffiliated generation in Pew study history. The survey found that half of millennials (50 percent) now describe themselves as political independents and about three in ten (29 percent) say they are not affiliated with any religion.

Yet millennials still vote heavily Democratic and support liberal views on many political and social issues ranging from a belief in an activist government to support for marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage. According to the study, millennials are optimistic about the future, despite being burdened by debt, distrustful of people and in no hurry to get married.

In the digital era, millennials have constructed intricate personalized networks of friends, colleagues and affinity groups using social media and mobile technologies. The study defines millennials as “digital natives,” the only generation that has not had to adjust to new technologies.

Eighty-one percent of millennials are on Facebook, with friend counts that top the Dunbar number of 150 — the maximum number of social relationships that an individual is able to maintain according to evolutionary and social psychologists. The number is also far higher than what is typical of older generations.

Selfies are considered a millennial hallmark. Fifty-five percent of millennials have posted a “selfie” — Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year — to a social media site, placing themselves at the center of the digital universe. “Amidst their fervent embrace of all things digital, however, nine in ten millennials say people generally share too much information about themselves online,” a view held by lopsided proportions of older generations.

The Pew Center findings are based on a survey conducted on Feb. 14 to 23, 2014, among 1,821 adults nationwide, including 617 millennials.

*image credit: Michal Jaskolski