Millennials Think the Biggest Problem Their Generation Faces Is a Person

What’s the biggest problem Millennials face as a generation? We asked them to tell us, and uncovered their 15 greatest concerns about the country, and their future, right now…

Student debt, delayed adulthood, lack of savings, unwillingness to invest—it’s not hard to find headlines declaring these some of Millennials’ biggest problems. Never mind the stereotypes about their shortcomings as a generation (entitled, lazy, and narcissistic are just a few in case you’ve forgotten). Older generations have clear opinions on Millennials’ issues, but what do Millennials themselves see as the biggest problems they face today? We asked them to tell us, and uncovered their 15 greatest concerns about the U.S., and their future, right now.

In our recent monthly survey of young consumers, part of our ongoing Millennial and Gen Z research, we dug into how these generations feel about their country, from how patriotic they are, to whether they think America is changing for the better or for worse. (Reminder: Only 32% agreed with the statement, “I think America is changing for the better,” while a full 75% agreed with the statement, “I think America is changing for the worse.”) Last week, we explored the issues and causes they are passionate about, a list that has shifted in the last few months of political turmoil. But in that same survey, we also asked almost 800 18-34-year-olds, “What do you think is the biggest problem your generation faces right now?”* Here are their top responses:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of issues that Millennials think are impacting them—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are the biggest concerns. The list…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

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