2012 Measure of Millennials

2012 Executive SummaryBetter Off or Worse Off?Confidence in Political LeadersElection TodayImpact on & Trust in GovernmentSummaryAbout the Survey

The newly released iOme Measure of Millennials national survey finds that 58% of Millennials today say they are Very Concerned about their personal financial situation; in 2011 that percentage stood at 46%. In the most recent study 23% say they are Moderately Concerned (23% in 2011) 12% say they are Somewhat Concerned (19% in 2011), 5% are Not At All Concerned (5% in 2011) and 3% are Not Sure (3% in 2011).

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These growing concerns are well founded as the “great recession” has taken a significant toll on Millennials. In particular unemployment among the youngest half of this millennial generation has been considerably higher than among other age groups. Unemployment is historically somewhat higher among these age groups.

Unemployment rates for those aged 18-19 in August 2012 was 22.7% and among those aged 20 to 24 the unemployment was 13.9% well above the rate of 6.8% among those 25 years of age and older according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Men (46%) are somewhat more likely than women (44%) to say they are Very Concerned about the U.S. financial situation and women (61%) are more likely than men (54%) to say they are Very Concerned about their personal financial situation.

While Millennials have become more concerned about their personal financial situation, their concern about the current financial situation facing the U.S. remains unchanged. Forty-five percent say they are Very Concerned about the financial situation facing the U.S. today nearly identical to the 46% who said the same one year ago in the 2011

iOme Measure of Millennials study; 30% today say they are Moderately Concerned (33% in2011), 17% say Somewhat Concerned (16% in 2011), 3% Not At All Concerned (2% in 2011) and 5% Not Sure (4% in 2012).

Millennials today are somewhat more likely to say they are Worse Off (30%) rather than Better Off (23%) from a year ago, however they remain generally optimistic about their economic future with 48% saying they will be Better Off next year and only 12% saying they will be Worse Off. Millennial viewpoints about wealth distribution in the U.S. are also changing. The 2012 Pew Research Values study found that 83% of Millennials believe that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, this compares to 67% of those aged 65 and older who are saying the same. That wide gap between the generations is a change from the Pew Values study in 1987 when the percentages were 76% among the 65 and older group and 73% among Millennials. (See http://www.people-press.org/2012/06/04/section-2-demographics-and-american-values/)

Millennials do not have a great deal of confidence in our political leaders to solve the financial issues our nation is facing. One-third (34%) say they are Very Confident (15%) or Moderately Confident (19%) in the Obama-Biden team to solve the country’s financial problems, 22% are Somewhat Confident, 33% are Not At All Confident, and 10% are Not Sure. One third (30%) also say they are Very Confident (12%) or Moderately Confident (18%) that Democrats in Congress can solve the financial issues facing the U.S. today, 27% are Somewhat Confident, 26% are Not At All Confident, and 16% are Not Sure. Support for the Republican Party is slightly weaker among Millennials. Nearly a quarter (23%) is Very Confident (10%) or Moderately Confident (13%) that the Romney-Ryan team will be able to solve the issues, 22% are Somewhat Confident, 40% are Not At All Confident, and 16% are Not Sure. One-fifth (21%) are Very Confident (8%) or Moderately Confident (13%) that Republicans in Congress can solve the financial issues, 24% are Somewhat Confident, 38% are Not At All Confident and 17% are Not Sure.
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President Obama receives greater support among the Millennials than does Governor Romney. When asked who they would vote for if the presidential election were held today, 55% of Millennials who are likely voters say they would vote for the Obama-Biden ticket and 37% say they would vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket, 8% said their support would go to other candidates. These results are not surprising as most polls find that Obama-Biden do better among younger voters than does the Romney-Ryan ticket.

The political efficacy of Millennials measured by the percent who agree that they can have an impact on decisions made by government leaders has increased slightly from 2011, but remains low. Twenty-two percent of Millennials today feel they can Always or Most of the Time have an impact on decisions made by leaders; this is up from 15% a year ago. Trust in our political leaders in Washington has also increased slightly, but also remains low. Currently, almost a quarter (23%) feel they can trust government Always or Most Of The Time, compared to 18% in 2011. Those who feel they can Never have an influence on government fell slightly from 37% to 32% and those who said they can Never trust government remains at 23%. Millennials who are Not Sure about how to respond to these questions remains similar to last year (9% and 7% for 2011; 9% and 10% for 2012).

The 2012 iOme Measure of Millennials national survey finds that Millennials are increasingly concerned about their own personal financial situation, do not feel they can have much impact on the decisions that leaders make in Washington and do not have high levels of trust in our leaders in Washington to do what is right. These low levels of political efficacy and trust also produce generally low confidence in our political leaders to solve the economic issues facing our nation today.

The analysis in this report is based on a national online sample representative of adults aged 18-29 in the United States. The survey was implemented in partnership with Toluna research (www.toluna-group.com). The online survey was conducted August 21-24, 2012. The representative sample included 643 completed surveys. The sample was weighted to more closely match the overall demographics of this age group nationally. The questionnaire was designed and hosted by the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute (www.snc.edujsri) using Qualtrics software. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have registered to participate in Toluna’s online surveys and polls. The data have been weighted to reflect the age composition of the millennial generation. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation in the Toluna sample rather than a pure probability sample, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, and measurement error.

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