Findings from a massive Pew Research Center study of 18-25 year olds.
1. This group is considerably more likely to identify themselves as Democrats than other age groups, a switch from even ten years ago when Republicans seemed to be winning the battle of the young.
2. They are comfortable, perhaps naively so, with the idea of economic globalization and are far more likely than those over 60 to view automation and a more integrated economy as a good thing. The gap between this group (18-25) and the next oldest group (26-40) in the use of technology is startling. Over half of the 18-25 year olds text-messaged a friend in the last 24 hours.
3. The most startling news in regard to social issues is the sympathy for gay rights and particularly gay marriage. Only 30% of people over 25 in the US favor gay marriage. 47% of those 18-25 do.
4. By contrast, Gen Nexters are as divided as the rest of the population on abortion.
5. They are also more likely, indeed twice as likely as people their age two decades ago, to declare themselves “atheist or agnostic.”
One public opinion poll does not a world make. But the survey may point to puzzles for Catholic social thought in the next two decades. Put it this way: if enunciated as a series of election year anti’s (i.e. gay marriage viewed in isolation) will these ideas resonate with a population that already holds divergent views on the particular issue and is considerably less beholden to religious institutions?(32% of the respondents — not broken down by religous groups — say they attend services once a week.) Or is there a better read of the data?