17 March 2008

Generation Next

A lot of investment has gone into researching today’s youth – the Generation Next (people in the 16-25 years age group) – the ones who cannot live without mobilephones, iPods and the Internet; the ones who create their own content digitally (since they feel what’s available is dismally out of time) and expand their networks socially from the confines of their rooms and their home computers.

Most such research reports are likely to be protected under private ownership, but there are a few which have been released in the public domain. One such report, released a year ago, and called A Portrait of ‘Generation Next’, is from Pew Research Center for The People and The Press, Washington DC. Although the research was conducted in 2006 in the United States and reflects those sentiments, it is a pretty good indicator of what today’s youth (probably) is.

Here’s an extract from that report:

“A new generation has come of age, shaped by an unprecedented revolution in technology and dramatic events both at home and abroad. They are Generation Next, the cohort of young adults who have grown up with personal computers, cell phones and the internet and are now taking their place in a world where the only constant is rapid change.

In reassuring ways, the generation that came of age in the shadow of Sept. 11 shares the characteristics of other generations of young adults. They are generally happy with their lives and optimistic about their futures. Moreover, Gen Nexters feel that educational and job opportunities are better for them today than for the previous generation. At the same time, many of their attitudes and priorities reflect a limited set of life experiences. Marriage, children and an established career remain in the future for most of those in Generation Next.

More than two-thirds see their generation as unique and distinct, yet not all self-evaluations are positive. A majority says that “getting rich” is the main goal of most people in their age group, and large majorities believe that casual sex, binge drinking, illegal drug use and violence are more prevalent among young people today than was the case 20 years ago.

In their political outlook, they are the most tolerant of any generation on social issues such as immigration, race and homosexuality.”

The report is quite substantial and revealing. You can read a PDF version here.

[Citation: A Portrait of ‘Generation Next’, Pew Research Center for The People and The Press, Washington DC, released January 2007.]

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