New MTV Study Finds Young People to be Redefining Patriotism
MTV, a division of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), today unveiled its new research study, "Millennials & #Merica," uncovering a significant shift by young people away from the traditional concept of unquestioning patriotism to a more balanced definition of what it means to be an "American" today - proud of country but highly attuned to its strengths and weaknesses.
In contrast to a recent Pew Study citing Millennials as the least patriotic generation in U.S. history, today's findings establish that young people possess a deep connection to America with an overwhelming 86 percent stating they are "proud to be American" and 8 in 10 agreeing they are "inspired by America."
"Millennials are as loyal to America as any generation. But they are redefining patriotism as an active commitment, rather than an unquestioned obligation," said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV. "In our global era where young people have witnessed peers around the world face oppression for speaking out, American Millennials are asserting their beliefs through the fundamentally American acts of questioning, challenging and, ultimately, trying to make this country better."
In fact, 92 percent of the generation shows unwavering support for the American value "to freely express yourself and your opinion," empowering them to exercise their right to simultaneously applaud and critique America's government, institutions and standing in the world.
For example, young people are about twice as likely as Boomers to feel more comfortable questioning America. This sentiment has led to the creation of #Merica, a meme that has swept through social feeds across the country with over 60 percent of Millennials stating it reflects how their generation feels about their country - proud, but hyper-aware of its flaws. The viral sensation embraces both the greatness and the follies of American culture and includes examples such as an image of an oversized plate of fried chicken and waffles or a pick-up truck driving into the sunset behind a sweeping mountain vista.
Moreover, Millennials were found to be more globally-minded and increasingly aware and concerned with international events with 60 percent of young people in the U.S. considering themselves "global citizens," compared to 43 percent of Boomers. In fact, when given a hypothetical $100 to donate globally, nationally or locally, Millennials donated more than twice as much to global causes on average as Boomers.
Overall, the generation's new perspective is best illustrated through the contradictions of responses advocating for long-standing American values alongside critiques of America's perceived shortcomings:
Nearly 90 percent of young people feel it is "American" to advocate for equality and fairness, yet nearly 7 in 10 believe the country only embraces college-educated, well-off people.
Over 80 percent of Millennials say America remains the land of opportunity, however 56 percent also feel the American system has let them down.
Nearly 7 in 10 Millennials believe "America is the best country in the world," yet 8 in 10 young people agree that some actions of the American government make it hard to be proud.
Additionally, the study found an overwhelming demand among young people for equal access to what they consider prerequisites for success:
88 percent believe all Americans should have affordable higher-education
87 percent believe in affordable access to healthcare for all
87 percent believe everyone has the right to access public transportation
86 percent believe in the right to nationwide and free internet access
"Millennials & #Merica" was fielded by MTV Insights in the United States from January 2014 - March 2014 and included a combination of quantitative results (2,000 Millennials ages 16-24), and qualitative studies (Facebook focus groups, visual diaries, parent and child interviews, etc.).
MTV is the world's premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV's sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online HUB MTV.com is a leading destination for music, news and pop culture. MTV is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.