American Types: Are you a young progressive? Gaga just turned 26 and already is an international cultural icon. Her songs reflect her political activism on behalf of greater funding for fighting HIV and AIDS, for LGBT advocacy and for opposition to bullying. Raised Catholic and the product of Catholic schools, Lady Gaga says today that religiously eclectic Indian teacher Deepak Chopra is a key spiritual influence in her life. Despite her provocative public appearances, Gaga says she regards her commitment to family and to America as surprisingly traditional.This week we’re considering some of the patterns in the fabric of America—different types of Americans, based on their values, beliefs, and demographic profiles. On Monday, we discussed “traditional individualists.” On Tuesday, it was “religious conservatives.” Today, we focus on the third and last major type, “young progressives.” If the first two types don’t fit you, does this one?

Like the other types, young progressives earn their name from their dominant characteristics. Age is one of them. This type is populated by Americans who are younger in comparison to the others. Over half are between 18 and 44 years of age. Very few are 65 years of age or older.

Young progressives have more political liberals, and fewer political conservatives, than any other group. Many of their values go along with their liberal stance. Young progressives are much less likely to believe that America has a moral destiny, such as spreading American values around the world. They are patriotic, but their affection for America does not extend to blind love—they are less likely than the other groups to subscribe to uncritical patriotism. They are less worried about national security, and quite unwilling to trade freedoms for security.

Young progressives are less religious overall than traditional individualists or religious conservatives. Just over a third says they are atheist, agnostic, or without a religion. About half are mainline Christians. Fewer than one in ten is a conservative Christian.

Are you a young progressive?

Or religious conservative? Or traditional individualist?

If none of these fits, what would you call your type?

Do you think our image today fits the definition?

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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue.

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