Young Americans Optimistic About Creating Change, Survey Finds

Young Americans Optimistic About Creating Change, Survey Finds

Seven out of ten of young Americans are working to create positive change on a daily basis, a report from the YMCA finds.

Based on a survey of two thousand Americans between the ages of 18 and 38 and conducted by OnePoll, the YMCA-commissioned report, How Are Young Americans Creating Positive Change?, found that 67 percent of survey respondents believe that younger generations are more likely to be outspoken about the issues they support, while 57 percent believe their generation is doing more than previous generations to support the causes and issues they care about. Although roughly six in ten reported that certain social issues feel like "lost causes," 87 percent indicated they believe that even small actions can add up to make a difference, while nearly three-quarters (74 percent) said they wish they could do more to help support the causes they care about but factors such as lack of money (54 percent), lack of time (41 percent), and lack of access (22 percent) hold them back.

Causes and issues respondents reported caring the most about include gun control (30 percent), human rights (28 percent), and the environment/sustainability (26 percent). Homelessness/housing inequality and health care reform rounded out the top five at 25 percent each.

Of the generational cohorts surveyed, members of Gen Z (ages 18 to 27) were more likely to support causes by attending marches or protests, fundraising, and door-to-door canvassing, whereas older millennials (ages 28 to 38) were more likely to support causes through financial donations or by purchasing items whose proceeds support a charity. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed had never heard of "Giving Tuesday," a global day of giving held annually the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

"Now more than ever, we are seeing young people actively leading change on a variety of important social issues," said YMCA of the USA president and CEO Kevin Washington. "They are eager to shape the communities we all live in and know they can make a difference with more than financial contributions — from volunteering to signing a petition to organizing a rally and more."