"Generation Why?" Statistics Hero Image
"Generation Why?" Statistics Hero Image
Oct 15, 2012 / 4 min

"Generation Why?" Statistics

Jonathan Pokluda

For the "Generation Why?" series, we touched on a number of statistics about Generation Y or the Millennial Generation—basically, people born in the 1980s or 1990s. I rolled through them pretty quickly, and some people have asked for a list of them, so here they are.

(The figures below come from the Pew Research Center, the Berkeley Research Institute, LifeWay Research, the Barna Group, Generation iY by Tim Elmore, and The Millennials by Thom Rainer.)

Why Not Me?

  • In 2012, 80% of people in this life stage believe that they are “very important.” In 1950, only 12% considered themselves to be “very important.”

  • The number one goal of Millennials is to get rich (81%). Their number two goal was to become famous (51%).

  • 96% believe that they will do something great in their lives.

  • 44% said they felt depressed.

  • 10% have considered committing suicide.

In other words, our generation is known for being self-centered and narcissistic. This focus on ourselves and our own glory has not led to happiness, though. The right order of things is for us to place others first. As Jesus taught and demonstrated, whoever wants to be greatest must be the greatest servant.

Why Commit?

  • Today, just 20% of adults aged 18 to 29 are married, compared with 59% in 1960.

  • The overall U.S. adult marriage rate is at an all-time low of 51% (compared with 72% in 1960).

  • 65% cohabitate before marriage.

  • Millennials stay at their jobs for an average of only 2 years, compared to 5 years for Generation X and 7 years for Baby Boomers.

  • 59% of Millennial Christians disconnect from church after age 15, either permanently or for an extended period of time.

  • Each year, one out of seven adults changes his or her church membership. Another one out of six regularly attends a carefully-chosen handful of churches on a rotating basis, rather than sticking with the same church week after week.

  • 75% claim that they are “spiritual but not religious,” meaning that they have no ties to anything other than “spirituality.”

Millennials are known for either not committing to anything, or not keeping the commitments they do make. The Bible emphasizes that we are to commit in our relationships, our work, and our church, and that we need to keep the commitments we make.

Why Not Tolerance?

  • Although 65% classify themselves as Christians, 43% said it does not matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons.

  • 68% say that “there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.”

  • 50% believe that all people are eventually saved or accepted by God no matter what they do.

  • 61% agree with allowing same-sex marriage.

  • Over 50% of Millennials believe that “what is right and wrong” depends on the situation, and that there are not established “right” and “wrong” actions.

  • 6 out of 10 believe that abortion is acceptable in any circumstance.

  • 4 out of 10 believe that pornography should not be made difficult to access, and believe that it is morally acceptable.

  • 64% believe that sex outside of marriage is morally acceptable.

Our postmodern society tries to claim that all viewpoints are equally valid, and that we should therefore be "tolerant" of every worldview or religion. However, since they each explicitly contradict and exclude each other, it is impossible for more than one way to be true. And if someone is on a destructive path, the truly loving thing to do is to share the truth with them.

Why us?

  • Generation Y is the biggest generation in history, and makes up 1/3 of the world’s current population.

  • 61% of Generation Y feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world.

  • 81% have volunteered in the past year.

  • 77% have “helping others” as one of their chief motivations in life.

  • 87% say that caring for the environment is their responsibility.

  • 79% want to work for a company that cares about how it affects or contributes to society.

  • 60% of Millennials voted in the last presidential election, which is very high for the young adult voting demographic.

  • 65% of adult Millennials have college degrees, making them the single most educated generation ever.

Here is the positive side of things: today's young adults want to change the world, and they have the ability, availability, and desire to do so. Throughout history, revolutions and revivals have consistently been led by young adults. We are God's "Plan A" for accomplishing His purposes in the world, and now is the time to start living that out.

Where do you fall in these statistics? Is there anything you need to change?