by Aaron Earls
Most millennials describe their generation as “self-absorbed.” Half see themselves as wasteful. Maybe that’s why only 40 percent of millennials consider themselves part of the millennial generation.
New research from Pew provided an interesting look at generational identification and self-description.
Almost 8 in 10 of those aged 51 to 69 consider themselves boomers—part of the baby-boom generation. And almost 6 in 10 Gen Xers—those 35 to 50—say they are members of Generation X.
But millennials seem hesitant to embrace their generational label, with 60 percent claiming another identifier. Only those aged 70 to 87, the silent generation, have less affinity to their generational title. Eighteen percent of silents see themselves as such, but only 27 percent of the generation has even heard of the name.
Recently, 38-year-old hip-hop artist Kanye West (firmly in the Generation X camp) described himself as a millennial. There aren’t many others clamoring to be classified in the younger generation. Four percent or less of every other generation consider themselves to be a millennial.
Meanwhile, 33 percent of millennials say they are part of Generation X. Eight percent of millennials say they are a boomer, 5 say silent, and another 8 say they are a member of the greatest generation—though perhaps they misunderstood what was meant by “greatest.”
The older the generation, the more likely they are to describe their generation in a positive light.
In most of the characteristics that could be considered positive, millennials are the least likely to describe themselves in that way. Only 12 percent believe they are patriotic or religious.
While more than half of every other generation describe themselves as “hard-working,” only 34 percent of millennials say the same about their generation.
The silents may not know to what generation they belong, but they are certainly not silent about praising others their age. They were the most likely to describe themselves using positive terms.
Not all millennials were down on their generation. Though they saw themselves as the most cynical generation, millennials were the most likely to say their fellow young adults are idealistic and entrepreneurial.
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- Jefferson Bethke: Reaching Millennials
- 4 Differences That Define Millennials
- Millennials & the End of Osmosis Christianity
- 5 Places the Church Can Reach Millennials
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.