How do millennials feel about the future? The answer depends on where they live. Millennials often are portrayed by their elders as an undifferentiated mass of smartphone-addicted, work-shirking, trophy-collecting whippersnappers.
On closer inspection, though, young adults born after 1982 aren’t a monolithic generation. They come with the usual variety of fears and dreams, according to a survey by consulting firm Deloitte – and in that way, they’re not so different than every age cohort that came before them.
Deloitte surveyed 7,900 millennials from 30 nations and developed a view that’s more nuanced than the stereotypes.
The survey found a distinct disconnect between millennials in the developed world and those in emerging markets. In the developed nations of Europe and North America, millennials feel pessimistic. In China and other emerging markets, optimism reigns.
In emerging markets, fully 57% of millennials predict economic improvement in their home countries 2017. In developed nations, just 34% of millennials expect things to get better, Deloitte says.
Meanwhile, millennials aren’t especially sunny about their emotional well-being. In only 11 of the 30 countries covered did most millennials expect to be happier than their parents. Millennials in India, Colombia, China, Peru, the Philippines and Indonesia – bastions of upward mobility all — are the most certain
Why all the angst?
Deloitte points to a variety of stomach-churning events that have shaped millennials’ views. The Great Recession hit during their formative years.
And in recent years, they’ve seen the world roiled by terror attacks and political uncertainty, including surprise votes for Brexit and US President Donald Trump.
Among their concerns, millennials cite terrorism, income inequality and the economy.
“Having lived through the ‘economic meltdown’ that began in 2008, and with high levels of youth unemployment continuing to be a feature of many economies, it is natural that millennials will continue to be concerned about the job market,” the report says.
Millennials are going through some recalibration of their priorities.
When Deloitte surveyed millennials in 2014, climate change and other environmental issues topped the generation’s list of concerns, while terrorism ranked far down on the list. Today, however, terrorism has vaulted to the top of the list of fears, while climate change has fallen.
One might quibble a bit with the distribution of the survey respondents: Deloitte surveyed 300 millennials each in China, India, Indonesia, the United States, Chile, Turkey and the Netherlands, posing the possibility that comparatively small nations are overrepresented in this study. The survey respondents were all college educated and working full-time in large organizations, meaning their just a narrow slice of huge chunk of the global population. Quibbles aside, any research that spurs greater understanding of millennials is welcome.