Millennials patriotic, yet balanced, about America, says MTV survey

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Millennials, the generation born after the 1980s, have more “balanced” concepts of America, according to research by cable music channel MTV. They are proudly patriotic, yet have an awareness of the country’s strengths and weaknesses,

“Millennials & #Merica,” is a new survey from MTV, a division of Viacom, which revealed a significant shift by young people away from traditional concepts of unquestioning patriotism to a more sensible idea of the meaning of being an “American” today.

These new findings come in strong contrast to a recent Pew Study showing Millennials to be the least nationalistic generation in U.S. history.

MTV pollsters say young people hold a deep connection to America; with 86% reporting they are “proud to be American”; 8 in 10 say they are “inspired by America.”

“Millennials are as loyal to America as any generation. But they are redefining patriotism as an active commitment, rather than an unquestioned obligation,” said MTV President Stephen Friedman “In our global era where young people have witnessed peers around the world face oppression for speaking out, American Millennials are asserting their beliefs through the fundamentally American acts of questioning, challenging and, ultimately, trying to make this country better.”

Moreover, 92% of Millennials report having unwavering support for the quintessential American value “to freely express yourself and your opinion,” as well as the right to simultaneously approve and critique America’s government, institutions and standing in the world.

Young people are also about twice as likely as Baby Boomers — those born after World War II — to feel comfortable questioning America’s motives and actions.

Millennials are also more globally minded, aware and concerned with international events; 60% of young Americans think of themselves as “global citizens,” versus 43% of Boomers.

When given a theoretical $100 to donate globally, nationally or locally, Millennials were more than twice as likely as Boomers to give to global causes.

Overall, responses by the younger generation demonstrate a somewhat conflicted view of traditional values:

  • Nearly 90% of young people say advocating equality and fairness is “American,” while nearly 7 in 10 believe the country only values college-educated, well-off people.
  • More than 80% of Millennials say America is a land of opportunity, but only 56% also feel the American system has failed them.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 Millennials think “America is the best country in the world,” although 8 in 10 young people agree that the American government sometimes acts in ways that make is difficult to be proud.

Other findings include an great demand by among young people for equal access to what they see as fundamentals for success:

  • 88 % believe all Americans should have affordable higher education
  • 87 % believe in affordable access to healthcare for all
  • 87 % believe everyone has the right to access public transportation
  • 86 % believe in the right to nationwide and free Internet access

“Millennials & #Merica” was conducted by MTV Insights in the U.S. from January 2014 – March 2014, using a combination of quantifiable results (2,000 Millennials ages 16-24), and included Facebook focus groups, visual diaries, parent and child interviews and the like.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.