Meet today’s average Millennial: Single, not religious, politically independent, and rather progressive when it comes to most social issues.
That’s the premise of the Pew Research Center’s latest study on Millennials in adulthood, which found that Millennial adults are “forging a distinctive path into adulthood, according to Pew Executive Vice President Paul Taylor and co-author of the report Paul Taylor.
Politically, 50 percent of Millennials consider themselves to be an independent, while 27 percent consider themselves to be a Democrat and 17 percent a Republican. At the same time, Millennials are more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate on the ballot than their elder counterparts. According to the study, six in ten adults between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for President Barack Obama in 2012, compared to just 44 percent of adults over the age of 65 who cast a ballot for the president.
“It’s not that they don’t have strong opinions, political opinions, they do,” Taylor told The Associated Press. “It’s simply that they choose not to identify themselves with either political party.”
Taylor attributes this in part to the fact that Millennials’ ideology tends to coincide more with the ideals of the Democratic Party than the Republican Party.
“They don’t choose to identify, but they have strong views and their views are views that most people conventionally associate with the Democratic Party,” he said. “They believe in a big activist government on some of the social issues of the day – gay marriage, marijuana legalization, immigration. Their views are much more aligned with the Democratic Party.”
Whether Millennials will remain Democratic as they get older is yet to be determined, however. “People can change over the course of their lifetimes,” Taylor added. “At the same time, the behaviors, attitudes, the voting patterns and experiences that generations sort of encounter as they come of age in their late teens and early 20s are important.”
Millennials are also less likely than their parents’ generations to marry and actively participate in an organized religion. While nearly nine in ten Millennials have at least some belief in a higher being, just 36 percent of them consider themselves to be a religious person. Moreover, only 26 percent of Millennials have tied the knot – a steep decline from the 36 percent of Gen Xers, 48 percent of Baby Boomers and 65 percent of those from the Silent Generation.
Pew considers Gen Xers to be adults between the ages of 34-49, boomers as those between the ages of 50-68, and those in the Silent Generation to be between the ages of 69-86.
Pew conducted a nationwide telephone study of 1,821 adults from Feb. 14-23, 2014. The study has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.