Millennials Are Curious, Family-Oriented, Happy
How do young people see the world? And when they think about the future, what do they envision?
A recent study by Viacom International Media Networks, “MTV Knowing Youth: 2020 Vision” sought to answer these questions. This project was based on an online survey of over 6,800 people ages 15 to 24 across 32 countries, as well as qualitative work in 17 markets. The qualitative work had a sample of 72 participants and included in-person interviews in respondents’ hometowns, as well as user-generated, ethnographic videos.
To this point, we’ve shared other stories about how global Millennials see the future: what they predict their lives will be like in 2020, their optimism and desire to inspire others, their goals of travel and new friends, their hopes for fulfilling and diverse careers, and how in the end they aspire to finding stability.
Here are some key insights on the young people we met and what’s most important to them:
They have a keen interest in other cultures and global issues. Nearly 9 out of 10 Millennials describe themselves as curious about the world. They see the world as one and want to learn more about other countries. International borders place no limits on their friendships, attitudes, or the content they consume. This gives them a global perspective on nearly everything they touch. And when it comes to the future, they truly see the whole world as their opportunity.
Being part of a loving family is a key definition of success. When asked what they believe to be the top signs of success, 55% answered “being part of a loving family.” Familial closeness outranked being rich, having an enjoyable job, doing well in school, having children, and even being famous. Friends and family are so important to them because they are a source of comfort and direction in a confusing world. One thing that’s different about the Millennial generation is that relationships are no longer restricted by location. Technological advances like social media and Skype allow those with loved ones abroad to remain in close contact.
Happiness outranks achievement as a measure of success. Nearly 3 out of 4 young people define success as “being happy.” They want to enjoy what they do, whatever that may be. Making a lot of money is a plus, but it’s not the most important thing in life. This is a key difference from their parents’ generation – they put emotional well-being ahead of financial success. Instead of taking a linear career path that allows people to enjoy themselves after retiring, they want to take pleasure in the journey.
They are very happy, despite troubled economies and job market anxieties. More than 7 in 10 describe themselves as “very happy,” illustrating their optimistic view of the future. They do feel they live in confusing times, yet they look forward to more positive circumstances down the line. More than this, they take a proactive approach to “getting on with things” to ensure that they have the best future possible.
They believe their generation can make the world a better place – but they’re unsure of how to participate as individuals. More than 8 in 10 young people feel their generation has the potential to change the world for the better. They see the need for change and believe that Millennials can take responsibility for making it happen. However, the specific role they see themselves playing in this change is not yet clear. It’s more a collective responsibility than an individual one, and they have to hope that everyone will do their part to bring forth the positive change that will improve the world.