Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials – the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium – have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.
They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They're less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.
Their entry into careers and first jobs has been badly set back by the Great Recession, but they are more upbeat than their elders about their own economic futures as well as about the overall state of the nation.
They are history's first "always connected" generation. Steeped in digital technology and social media, they treat their multi-tasking hand-held gadgets almost like a body part – for better and worse. More than eight-in-ten say they sleep with a cell phone glowing by the bed, poised to disgorge texts, phone calls, emails, songs, news, videos, games and wake-up jingles. But sometimes convenience yields to temptation. Nearly two-thirds admit to texting while driving.
Read the full report The Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change. on the Pew Research Center's Web site.
You can also take the Pew Research Center's 14-item quiz to find out "How Millennial Are You?, on a scale from 0 to 100, by comparing your answers with those of respondents to a scientific nationwide survey.
At a conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010, Pew Research Center analysts and outside experts discussed the findings of this report on the Millennial generation. Video and full transcripts of the entire conference are available on pewresearch.org.