Millennials – born between 1980 and 2000 – are both the 20th century’s last generation and its first truly digital one. We spoke to eight millennials from across the UK to find out how they want to live, what stops them, what they view as the biggest issues facing society, and what they think of the generations before and after them.
- Unease around narrowing world views and increasing intolerance for other people’s beliefs is of high concern. One Londoner told us: “Tolerance for differing views is changing and becoming much more extreme. This is linked to people feeling that their opinion can be equal to a FACT.” A participant from Scotland said: “I think we are becoming more isolationist and people are retreating into their own tribes. It’s happening everywhere. There is a lot of division about most issues; a lot of misunderstanding”. C, 32, from Leamington Spa said: “The demonization of groups of people [is a massive problem] with media like the Sun failing to humanise groups of people – trashing immigrants and asylum seekers and Labour voters – we need to get passed this – we are going backwards.”
- The gulf between rich and poor was mentioned by a few respondents as one of the biggest issues facing society now, both reflecting and creating this division of opinion and inability to see things from other perspectives.
- Climate change (unsurprisingly) rides high as one of the biggest issues the world currently faces (according to millennials), with concern around denial and the amount of education required to turn the issue around.
- Social care was also raised, with worry about our unwillingness to look after one another: “There is a considerable unwillingness for volunteering and with a whole generation spending not saving and having fewer children I envisage a pinch point of a big, top heavy population, without the volunteers to help keep going – unless there is significant rebalancing” (M, 32, Manchester).
- Inertia, guilt and paralysis are stopping people from being able to act: “I think that the biggest issue is that people don’t know how to make a difference – we have the conscious awareness, but people don’t think they can impact on this and so feel guilty.”