The end of the academic year draws near. Teaching at one of the nation’s biggest universities, I see them by the thousands: Some are graduating; others will be taking summer jobs, paid or unpaid internships—or spending the summer looking for one of those.
As this great tide moves, once again, from our campuses into the larger world:
What are these college-aged Millennials hoping to find? What’s important to them?
First and foremost, they are seeking the same thing most Americans want: jobs. Unemployment and jobs are the number one issued cited by college-age Millennials, according to a just-released Millennial Values Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute in collaboration with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University. Over three-quarters say this is a critical issue facing the country. College-age Millennials are 18 to 24, the youngest adults in the nation.
What else are they worried about? The federal deficit takes second place. A majority of college-age Millennials (55%) say this is a critical issue. Education is third, cited by a majority as well (54%). Overall, they are less concerned about the environment, national security, immigration, or hot-button issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
But opinions about these issues vary by race and ethnicity, according to the survey researchers. Compared to white Millennials, African-American Millennials are more concerned about education The reverse is true for the federal deficit. Hispanic Millennials are more concerned about immigration than the other groups are.
Opinion also varies by political ideology and affiliation. Millennials who consider themselves Democrats are much more concerned about the environment and the wealth gap than are those who consider themselves Republicans. For Republican Millennials, the big issues are the deficit and immigration.
What’s on the minds of the college-age Millennials you know?
Is employment their top concern?
What else worries them?
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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue.