Second wave of Millennials are more resilient, wary than their older counterparts.
Meet the new Millennials; not the same as the old Millennials.
This second wave of Millennials (ages 13-17) are more Katniss Everdeen than Harry Potter; more future-directed and more pragmatic than their 18-32-year-old counterparts. Entitled? Not this bunch, according to a new generational study conducted by MTV Insights, a research group of the iconic cable network channel, of 3,100 Millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers, as well as focus groups that compared the two waves of Millennials.
Millennials overall have an optimistic outlook, but while the first wave of Millennials came of age in the “Yes We Can” era of the 1990s and early 2000s economic boom, the second wave has developed a “Keep Calm and Carry On” mindset, an outgrowth, according to the study, of coming of age during the Great Recession as well as social-media amplified tragedies, such as the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the horrific Sandy Hook school shootings.
Thus, more than three-fourths of the youngest Millennials “worry about the negative impact that today’s economy will have on me or my future,” according to the report. Similarly, 60 percent believe that their generation will be worse off than their parents, while an equal percentage feel “very stressed about getting into a good high school or college.
In 2010, nearly-three fourths of young Millennials agreed with the statement, “If I want to do something, no one is going to stop me.” Three years later, only 57 percent agree.
The youngest Millennials seem to be developing an ethos apart from the “entitled” rap with which their older counterparts have been saddled. “Sixty-nine percent insist they put more pressure on themselves than others put on them. They are beginning to map out their careers at the age of 13, heeding the advice of their Gen X parents who tell them, “You’ve got to create your own oyster,” rather than, “The world is your oyster.”
They are also harnessing the Internet in more pragmatic ways, leveraging online videos and online communities to develop their interests and passions (84 percent said they love being an expert in things). Tellingly, more than one-third said they “plot out escape plans when in public places.”
“Millennials cannot be viewed as a monolithic bloc,” observed MTV President Stephen Friedman in a statement. “We are especially impressed to see how Millennial teens are resiliently and optimistically responding to adversity and preparing to win in the game of life."
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.