Research Shows Millennials Care Less About Family Than Previous Generations

Our priorities as a culture are radically shifting.

It's become common to hear older generations commenting on the apathy of young Americans, and it turns out, in certain areas, they might be right about how little millennials care. New research has shown that there are a few specific subjects that young people aren't concerned with today that used to be of utmost importance to their parents.

In 1998, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey asked young people which values were most important to them, and the majority cited hard work, patriotism, religion, and having children. Now, a new 2019 version of the survey by NBC News and the WSJ has found that while appreciation for hard work has deepened over the years, the other three principles have taken a real nosedive among today's youth.

The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults found that, overall, the number of people who believe patriotism to be important has fallen by 9 percent in the last two decades, religion has fallen by 14 percent, and starting a family has decreased by 16 percent. And it's primarily those under the age of 40 who are driving this cultural shift.

Only 42 percent of those between the ages of 18 to 38 rated patriotism as a very important value, compared with 80 percent of those 55 and older. Only 30 percent of those in the younger age group said believing in God was very important, compared to 67 percent of those in the older age group. And only 32 percent of millennials and Gen Zers said it was important to have kids, compared with 54 percent of those over the age of 55.

While some people may bemoan that today's youth doesn't understand the value of having a traditional family specifically, there are experts who argue that they're just taking their lives together first.

"The young are marrying much later because today both sexes want to get their career and their finances in order before they wed," world-renowned biological anthropologist Helen Fisher previously told Best Life. "Partners take a lot of time to get to know one another before the wedding. Where marriage used to be the beginning of a partnership, now it is the finale."

And to learn more about how our priorities are changing, check out New Study Highlights Why So Many Americans Are Still Single.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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