What Young Adults Care About

Charles Blow:

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Robin

    So young people care less about combating climate change than any other issue discussed (with the possible exception of protecting civil liberties). Honestly not what I would have expected from a poll of young people.

  • Pat Pope

    @Robin, the results may reflect their feelings on the importance of the government’s involvement in these issues versus the importance of the issues themselves.

  • Robin

    Pat Pope,

    The original question doesn’t mention the government’s role, but a question in the report asks whether or not the “government should do more to curb climate change even at the expense of economic growth.” 28% strongly/somewhat agreed with that statement

  • RobS

    Interesting Harvard University study of 18-29 year olds. So I guess when the media is showing us pictures of people screaming and rioting over certain issues, we might just remember that riots don’t drive the public opinion polls as precise as the media might lead us to believe. Certainly a good reminder to filter the information we get.

    Well, hats off to the young people that just want a job and a chance to be gainfully employed and take responsibility for their own student loans and things like that. Maybe they’re thinking “If I had a job, I could easily afford the new iPad” but it gives me a bit more hope.

  • Jon G

    I know I’m not the brightest bulb in the box (stupid saying considering the ones in the box aren’t plugged in, right? – maybe it’s a statement about potential.) :-) but I find this chart to be difficult to read. Why can’t they just list in order what the kids care about?

  • Tim

    Now these are good statistics. Very discouraging on the Climate Change front, however. But these are exactly the sort of statistics that I’d like to see as more prevalent in the media. Far more meaningful and useful than the typical “issue ‘y’ matters more to group ‘x’ than group ‘z’” type comparisons you typically see.

  • Robin

    Jon G.
    The main reason I think they ordered the chart like that is because preferences aren”t ordered neatly. Even if A>B and B>C…sometimes C>A can still hold.

    If it were a survey in economics by the way this would invalidate the second theorem of neoclassical economics.

  • Joe Canner

    Jon G, they took all of the issues and for each interview randomly chose two and asked which issue was more important. (The original paper is remarkably sparse on information regarding whether each interview included only one pair of issues or more than one pair.) So, as Robin points out, the pairwise comparisons are relevant, but there is no absolute ranking.

    I was flummoxed for a while by the statistical significance key. The width of the color bars at the top suggests that each one has something to do with the 4 issues immediately below it in the table, when in fact the width of the bars is irrelevant and it is only the colors themselves that matter.

  • Mark h

    So, they want health care and jobs, and don’t give a rip about climate change, controlling the cost of elections, and the one that surprised me, immigration. Sounds like their parents, huh?

  • http://www.parkpresbyterian.org J. Christy Wareham

    One of the things I’ve said often from the pulpit is that I dread explaining to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren why my generation will have left them such a wrecked planet. Turns out at least my children think nearly everything is more important than the livability of the planet they’ll inherit. Astonishing.

  • Jon

    the results definitely see narcissistic.

  • JohnM

    I strongly suspect the top two priorties – jobs and health care – are stage of life related and will change once the youngsters acquire both. I’m a little suprised Addressing Social Security didn’t rate higher as a concern. Maybe it’s just too far out for 18-29 year olds to think about, or maybe they’ve already written it off for themselves. Be interesting to know.

  • phil_style

    Wow, this really surprises me on one had, but deep down we’re all humans, we find it difficult to prioritise the long term. Our immediate concern now is jobs. jobs, jobs, jobs.

    We seem quite able to ignore the long term effects of the kind of economy we have (an economy not without it’s fare share of long term adverse effects on our world), for the sake of short term security in the form of paid employment.


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