Millennials Pessimistic about Future of U.S. with Little Interest in Becoming Business Leaders — But See Hope and Opportunity Online

New Survey from One Young World Reveals Young Americans' Attitudes Toward Business, Politics, Religion and Online Security

Aug 31, 2011, 08:00 ET from One Young World

NEW YORK, Aug. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Coming of age in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression has taken a serious toll on millennials, who maintain a generally pessimistic outlook on the future of the country, the effectiveness of its leaders and the possibilities awaiting young people themselves in the world of business, according to a new report released from One Young World, the global youth forum.

The one exception? The opportunities afforded the millennial generation by the Web. Though they remain wary of unregulated capitalism and the loss of privacy coinciding with the Internet's transparency, 77 percent of millennials in the U.S. say the Internet has opened up greater business prospects for people their age.

In a year that has seen youth activism extend across the globe and drive real political change, the white paper created in conjunction with One Young World, "Beyond the Long Spring of Dissent," acts as a temperature check on a generation facing increasing obstacles.

From inheriting massive public debt and a stagnant economy, to high unemployment figures and growing environmental concern, the factors motivating young people to challenge the status quo are given a thorough analysis in the report.

The white paper follows research conducted by YouGovStone on behalf of One Young World, which surveyed young people ages 20-29 from 21 different countries around the world on important global issues.

  • In these troubled times, U.S. youth aren't feeling exceedingly optimistic: A mere 29 percent of young Americans agree with the statement "I feel very positive about my country's future," compared to a global average of 45 percent.

  • Just 38 percent of U.S. millennials say their career ambition is to run their own business, versus 69 percent of millennials in China and an average of 68 percent worldwide.

  • Young Americans' pessimism — or apathy — toward the business world extends to the traditional process of climbing the corporate ladder: Only 40 percent report a career ambition to "work their way to the top of an established business," versus 85 percent of young people in China and 64 percent worldwide.

  • When it comes to the Internet, however, U.S. millennials show a flash of optimism: 77 percent agree "The Internet has opened up greater business prospects for people [their] age." Nevertheless, half of American survey respondents report concern for their online privacy with the use of such sites as Facebook.

  • Also high on the list of concerns for young Americans are the environment, the unchecked powers of capitalism and online security. Though a large minority — 42 percent — of young Americans is concerned with climate change, the number still hovers below the survey average of 69 percent and well below China's 86 percent.

  • Only 12 percent of respondents in the U.S. think that the world's leaders are moving at the right speed to achieve effective agreements on combating climate change — though 65 percent of respondents in China think so.

  • Despite the stereotypes, young Americans are not more religious than their peers: Fewer than half the American respondents agree that their faith is "a guiding force" in their lives, versus 64 percent in both China and around the world.

One Young World has published the report in preparation for its second-annual summit, which gives its more than 1,200 delegates — most under the age of 25 — an opportunity to make their voices heard ordinarily afforded only to political and business leaders.

Supported by a distinguished lineup of counselors including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof, Muhammad Yunus, CEO of Unilever Paul Polman and co-founder of Doctors Without Borders Bernard Kouchner, delegates will use the forum to communicate their demands on the leaders of today.

The summit will run from Sept. 1-4, 2011, in Zurich and comprises three days of interactive sessions and discussion plenary based on six key resolutions: global business, media, global health, interfaith dialogue, environment and leadership.

About One Young World

One Young World is a global youth leadership summit, bringing together 1,200 delegates primarily under 25 from over 170 countries worldwide.  Unlike any other event in the world, One Young World gives delegates the kind of media platform and forum afforded ordinarily only to those who lead countries and corporations. One Young World gives them a platform for their views, vision and ideas to create real resolutions for real change.   Supported by counselors including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof and Muhammad Yunus, delegates will tell the world what the leaders of tomorrow think and feel - and what they demand of the leaders of today.   Founded by David Jones, Global CEO of Havas, and Kate Robertson, UK Group Chairman, Euro RSCG, One Young World is a unique event that offers international decision makers powerful insight into where our world may be heading. The inaugural London summit took place between February 8-10, 2010. The Second Annual One Young World Summit will be held in Zurich, Switzerland from 1st - 4th September 2011. One Young World - where young leaders start leading.  For more information about One Young World please visit:

Methodology of the research

One Young World commissioned a series of 21 national reports of young people in their 20s to form part of a global consultation process that will inform the second annual One Young World summit. The research was carried out by YouGovStone, during which 9,240 interviews were conducted with young people aged 20-29 from 21 different countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany,  India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, U.K., U.S. and Venezuela.

In 19 of the 21 countries surveyed, YouGovStone had access to online research panels who agreed to take part in research surveys. Respondents in these countries participated in the survey using a self-completion online questionnaire. Data from most of the survey countries were captured, processed and analyzed by YouGovStone using its bespoke online survey system. The exceptions were Nigeria, where interviews of respondents meeting the sampling criteria were conducted by telephone, and Bangladesh, where face-to-face interviews were collected on streets nationwide.

The 21 countries where the survey was conducted have a combined population of more than 4.4 billion, equivalent to some 64 percent of the world's 6.9 billion population. In each country, the samples were split evenly between men and women aged 20 to 29 to match the profile of One Young World delegates.

Lisa Gruber
Global Communications Manager
Euro RSCG Worldwide
T +1 212-886-2018

SOURCE One Young World