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Millennials: Diverse, Connected, and Committed to Sexual Health and Rights Print

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Millennials, young people 30 and under, are coming of age in a world vastly different from that of their parents and grandparents. The Millennial generation is diverse, technologically savy, open minded, and committed to sexual health and rights. In fact, this generation may just be the most pro sexual health generation in U.S. history and has the potential to put America on course to become a truly sexually healthy nation.

Let's take a deeper look at Millennials – who they are, what they do, and how their attitudes and beliefs are shaping our world.

 

Download Millennials Infographics

- Millennials as Percentage of Voters

- Millennials Double Their Percentage By 2020

- Millennial's Opinion on Abortion

- Millennials are Digital Natives

- Millennials are the Most Diverse

- Millennial Youth of Color on Same-Sex Marriage

- Millennial Youth of Color on Same-Sex Marriage (Breakdown)

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Millennials are more diverse than previous generations: 39 percent are nonwhite (14 percent African American, 20 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent Asian-American), compared to 30 percent of the general population.1

They are more highly educated: 54 percent have had some college education, compared to only 36 percent of "baby boomers" (those ages 50-64) at their age.

They are more connected: 90 percent use the Internet at least occasionally, compared to 79 percent of boomers, and 75 percent use social networking sites, compared to only 30 percent of boomers.

And, due to a flagging economy, they are less likely to be employed than previous generations were at their age.1 The unemployment rate for those ages 18-24 is nearly double the overall rate (16.3 percent compared to 8.8 percent).2

Millennials are far more liberal — they are almost twice as likely to identify as liberal as are seniors (those ages 65 and above).1 Their level of engagement is increasing: in 2008, 26 percent of young people ages 18-29 voted, compared to an 18 percent turnout in the 2004 election.3

In 2012 there will be 64 million Millennial eligible voters, 29 percent of all eligible voters. Every year there are an additional 4 million new Millennial voters; by 2016 they will represent 36 percent of eligible voters and by 2020 they will represent just under 40 percent of eligible voters.4

Millennials care about reproductive and sexual health and access to services: they are more likely to support to support access to abortion within their community (68 percent support), legality for same-sex marriage (74 percent support), and comprehensive sex education (88 percent support), than any other generation.5,6

Well-educated, digitally engaged, and feeling the sting of a sluggish economy, Millennials are a generation on the verge, whose views and decisions will shape American culture, politics, and sexual norms for decades.

Millennials on Key Issues

Abortion

Six in ten Millennials believe abortion should be available in all (22 percent) or most (38 percent) cases, comparable with other generations, but Millennials are more likely to support access in their own community: 68 percent believe abortion should be available in their community, compared to 60 percent of boomers and only 42 percent of seniors.5

Contraception

Three quarters of Millennials believe insurance companies should be required to cover birth control, consistent with other age groups.7

A large majority of Millennials do not believe that an employer's personal religious beliefs should affect their access to birth control: 62 percent of Millennials believe religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception or birth control at no cost.8

Eight in ten (84 percent) unmarried Millennials say avoiding pregnancy is important to them. Especially in a challenging economy, young people understand the importance of being able to plan when to have children.9

For women younger than 30, the Pill is the leading method of contraception and it can be expensive. Birth control pills even for someone with insurance can cost $50 a month to — or $600 a year. Over half of women 18 to 34 say they struggle with the cost of birth control.

Seven in ten Millennials (69 percent) say the Pill is "one of the most important medical breakthroughs of the last Century that has had a positive impact on women's day-to-day lives."10

Among Millennials of color, eight in ten (84 percent) agree that contraception, like condoms and birth control pills, need to be available and affordable to help young people stay healthy; and 86 percent of young people of color consider birth control part of basic health care that should be covered by insurance.11

Millennials also strongly support access to contraception for all women, regardless of age or income level. Over three-quarters of Millennials (77 percent), a higher percentage than any other age group, believe methods of birth control should be generally available to those ages 16 or older without parental approval, and nearly nine in ten (86 percent).

HIV Prevention

63 percent of Millennials believe the government should spend more on HIV and AIDS vs 47 percent of Boomers and Seniors.12

48 percent of Millennials say HIV is a serious problem for someone they know.12

50 percent of Millennials want more information about HIV.12

52 percent of Millennials want better information on talking to the next generation about HIV.12

LGBT Rights

Support for LGBT rights is far more entrenched among Millennials than among older generations. 74 percent believe LGBT people should be accepted by society.9 57 percent of Millennials say sex between two adults of the same gender is morally acceptable, while only 37 percent of boomers and 25 percent of seniors share this view.5

63 percent of Millennials also believe same sex marriage should be legal compared to only 39 percent of boomers and 30 percent of seniors.6

Sex Education

Millennials on Sex-EdClick on the image for a larger view. Right click on the larger image to save.

There is broad support for comprehensive sex education, which includes information about both abstinence and contraception, but Millennials are its biggest backers: 88 percent of Millennials support comprehensive sex education, as do 76 percent of boomers and 62 percent of seniors.5

Marriage and Parenting

Millennial notions about sex outside of marriage differ from the preceding generations, even the liberal boomer generation. 70 percent of Millennials believe sex outside of marriage is morally acceptable, compared to 54 percent of boomers and 38 percent of seniors.5

Seven in ten believe divorce is morally acceptable — about equal to boomers and only slightly more than seniors.13

61 percent of Millennials agree that they "have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," compared to 78 percent of boomers and 82 percent of seniors.1

Over a third of Millennials have ever had children.1

Millennials are the least likely of any generation to view as "a bad thing for society," unmarried cohabitation (22 percent), parenting by same-sex couples (32 percent), and mothers working outside the home (23 percent).1

Use of Social Media and Technology

Millennials are "digital natives" — they grew up with the Internet, social networks, and texting, and they are comfortable and fluent with these technologies. Their experiences online include communicating with friends and acquiring news and other information.

  • 92 percent of Millennials use the Internet at least occasionally.
  • 75 percent of Millennials have created a social networking profile
  • 80 percent report texting within the last 24 hours
  • 54 percent of Millennials believe new technology brings them closer to friends and family.
  • 29 percent visit their social networking profiles several times a day (more than any other age group and more reported this highest level of use than any other level)
  • Only 14 percent use Twitter but they are the most likely of any generation to do so.
  • Nearly as many Millennials cite the Internet (59 percent) as their main source of news as television (65 percent).1

Bibliography

This report was compiled from a number of sources, each with valuable information about the Millennial generation.

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Pew Research Center. The Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change.

A snapshot of Millennial point of view, compared to older generations, on many topics, including socioeconomic issues, values, religious beliefs, work, technology, and political ideology.

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Public Religion Research Institute. Committed to Availability, Conflicted about Morality: What the Millennial Generation Tells Us About the Future of the Abortion Debate and the Culture Wars.

Explores Millennial opinion on the social issues of abortion, and same-sex relationships and examines the context of these beliefs and the factors which influence them.

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Center for American Progress Action Fund. Democratic Change and the Future of the Parties.

A detailed analysis of the demographic shifts transforming the Electorate

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CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement). Youth Voting.

CIRCLE provides youth voter turnout since 1972 as well as polling on various electoral issues.

 


Sources:

  1. Pew Research Center. The Millennials: Confident, Connected, and Open to Change. 2010.
  2. Pew Research Center. Young, Underemployed and Optimistic. 2012.
  3. CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement). A Voter Turnout Time Series for 1972 to 2010. 2011.
  4. Center for American Progress Action Fund. Democratic Change and the Future of the Parties. 2010.
  5. Public Religion Research Institute. Survey - Committed to Availability, Conflicted about Morality: What the Millennial Generation Tells Us about the Future of the Abortion Debate and the Culture Wars. 2011.
  6. Public Religion Research Institute. March PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey. March 2012.
  7. New York Times/CBS Poll.
  8. Public Religion Research Institute. The African American & Hispanic Reproductive Issues Survey. July 2012.
  9. National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The Target Speaks: What Young Adults Think About Unplanned Pregnancy.
  10. Lake Research Partners. Key Findings on Public Attitudes on Family Planning. May 2011.
  11. Belden Russonello Strategies for Advocates for Youth. May 2012.
  12. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. HIV/AIDS At 30: A Public Opinion Perspective. June 2011.
  13. Gallup News Service. Values and Beliefs. May 5-8, 2011.
 
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