Friday, September 4, 2015

[OPINION] Millennials have low opinion of themselves, compared to boomers

Millennials have a relatively low opinion of their generation. They don’t even like the label “millennials” to describe the group they’ve been lumped into, especially when compared to baby boomers, who eagerly self-identify as such.
That’s the finding from the Pew Research Center, whose latest report on generational groups holds a mirror up to each to see how they perceive themselves. The report, released Thursday, says boomers have the strongest generational identity, followed by those in generation X. Only the so-called silent generation seems to identify with its label even less — perhaps because the name has negative connotations.
As for millennials – a highly diverse group of people born between 1981 and 1997 and between 18 and 34 years old – only 40 percent consider themselves part of that generation. A third of older millennials (33 percent) would instead prefer to identify with gen X-ers, who were born from 1965 to 1980 and are now 35 to 50 years old.
Millennials are also more likely to give themselves low rankings in categories such as patriotism, responsibility, willingness to sacrifice, religiousness, morality, self-reliance, compassion and political activism. Fully 59 percent say “self-absorbed” is an apt description of their bunch.
But, hey, they’re young.
Boomers, however, tend to have relatively healthy self-regard, giving themselves better scores in patriotism, responsibility and so on. Only the silent generation -- those born between 1928 and 1945, who are between 70 and 87 years old – gave themselves an even bigger pat on the back.
Carroll Doherty, director of political research at the Pew Research Center, said the survey suggests that boomers like being considered boomers, perhaps because of the catchiness of the alliterative phrase and its descriptive qualities for a group of people whose post-war births created a population bubble. It may also be proof that the field of generational identities involve as much art as science.
“That name has really connected. And the others haven’t, and it’s unclear why,” Doherty.

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