WASHINGTON — Even millennials don't think much of their generation, according to a new poll Thursday.
A Pew Research Center study showed that millennials — generally defined as those ages 18-34 — had far more negative views of their generation compared to Generation Xers, baby boomers or other age groups. More than half of millennials, 59 per cent, described their generation as "self-absorbed," while almost half — or 49 per cent — said they were "wasteful," and 43 per cent said they were "greedy."
Around 30 per cent of Generation Xers — those ages 35-50 — said their own generation was self-absorbed and wasteful, and 20 per cent of the baby boomers said the same about their age cohort.
Millennials "stand out in their willingness to ascribe negative stereotypes to their own generation," the study said.
The older the group, the more positively they saw themselves, the Pew study found.
For example, the so-called "Silent Generation" — those ages 70-87 — overwhelmingly described themselves as hard-working, responsible and patriotic, at 83 per cent, 78 per cent and 73 per cent respectively. The baby boomers were not far behind, picking those same three words to describe themselves, at 77 per cent, 66 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively.
But the millennials and Gen Xers were not quite so positive about themselves: only 12 per cent of the millennials and 26 per cent of Generation X say they are patriotic; 24 per cent of the millennials and 43 per cent of the Gen Xers say they're responsible; and 36 per cent of the millennials and 54 per cent of Generation X say they are hard-working.
In fact, the highest-ranking positive traits the millennials came up with for themselves were "environmentally conscious" at 40 per cent and "idealistic" at 39 per cent.
Many millennials don't even want to be identified as such, with 60 per cent not considering themselves to be part of the "millennial generation."
Instead, 33 per cent say they are part of Generation X.
The "Silent Generation" also didn't want to identify with its generation. Like the millennials, only 18 per cent of the Silent Generation considered themselves part of that group. Instead, more identified as being with the baby boomers at 34 per cent or the older demographic "Greatest Generation" at 34 per cent.
Generational identity was strongest among the baby boomers, with 79 per cent of those within the applicable age group identifying with the "baby-boom" generation.
The poll was conducted using Pew's American Trends Panel among 3,147 respondents, initially selected over the phone but mostly interviewed online.
The margin of error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
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