American Millennials Feel Technology Enables Personal Opportunity, Positively Affects the U.S. Political Landscape

NEW YORK,  The vast majority of today’s 18-30 year-olds – members of the “Millennial generation” – are true believers in all that technology has to offer. In the United States, 73 percent believe technology has made it easier to get a job, 77 percent believe “technology creates opportunities for all,” as opposed to a select few, and 65 percent believe technology brings people closer together. A new Telefonica – Financial Times survey of more than 12,000 adult Millennials in 27 countries, including 1,000 adult Millennials in the U.S., also shows that Millennials’ interests extend far beyond technology – to concerns about the economy, the government, education and personal freedoms.

Launched today at London’s Royal Opera House, Telefonica’s Global Millennial Survey is the largest and most comprehensive survey of Millennials aged 18-30 to date. The findings indicate that Millennials – also known as Generation Y – are generally optimistic about their potential for achieving personal success. In the U.S., more than

three-fourths (77 percent) believe they have opportunities locally to become entrepreneurs or develop and bring an idea to market. Yet, while they believe the opportunity is there, only 45 percent say it is very to somewhat important to actually become an entrepreneur, compared to 55 percent of global respondents.

A large majority of American Millennials – 83 percent – are also confident in their ability to make a difference in their local communities, compared to 62 percent worldwide, and 52 percent believe they can make a global difference, compared to 40 percent worldwide.

“The survey reveals important insights into the Millennial generation in the U.S. and how their feelings and outlooks compare to their global peer set,” said Alfredo Timermans, Chief Executive Officer of Telefonica International, U.S.A. “We’ve seen that Millennials in the U.S. and around the world are not necessarily the self-involved generation that is so often portrayed, but have real concerns about the world they live in and feel empowered to create change.”

One-third (34 percent) of American Millennials say they always participate in the U.S. political process, while 47 percent say they sometimes participate. Half (50 percent) think there should be more government regulation on the private sector to drive economic growth, as opposed to less regulation, and 60 percent think public sector job growth should be made a priority, as opposed to the private sector.

American Millennials also think technology has positively affected politics in the U.S. and their understanding of the government: 70 percent say technology has made government more transparent. A vast majority – 93 percent – of American Millennials surveyed say that technology has made them better informed about political issues and 88 percent say social media plays an important role in current political events and movements in the country.

Millennials Choose Education as Top Way to Make a Difference
Millennials in the U.S. value education as a positive way to affect change and ensure personal future success. They believe the most important way to make a difference in the world is by improving access to and the quality of education (38 percent). Fifty-five percent of American Millennials say education and school is most influential in shaping their outlook on life, behind family (84 percent) and friends (57 percent).

Technology is named the most important academic field of study by American Millennials to ensure personal success (28 percent), outpacing science (18 percent) and economics (17 percent).

Millennial Leaders: Guiding the U.S. Into the Future
Even among such a large number of young people whose views and attitudes reflect generally positive attitudes toward technology, entrepreneurship and the ability to make a difference locally, the Telefonica survey has identified some Millennials who stand out from the rest – the 11 percent of survey respondents who comprise a group defined as the “Millennial Leaders.”

The U.S. has one of the largest concentrations of Millennial Leaders in the world (16 percent of U.S. respondents compared to 11 percent of respondents worldwide).

A large majority – 92 percent – of American Millennial Leaders believe they have an “excellent” personal knowledge of and comfort level with technology, as compared to 49 percent of American Millennials overall. They are also more likely to believe technology has been a key influencer in their lives, 44 percent of American Millennial Leaders compared to 33 percent of American Millennials overall.

Millennial Leaders are also more career-driven. More than half (54 percent) of American Millennial Leaders believe that making it to the top of their career is very important, compared to 33 percent of American Millennials. Many (63 percent) believe making the progression from school to the workplace is very to somewhat easy, compared to 41 percent of American Millennials.

The survey also provides a fresh look at American Millennials’ views on a broad range of current issues:

  • American Millennials are concerned about globalization, as more than half (58 percent) think globalization creates opportunities for a select few, and 76 percent say outsourcing is bad for the U.S. economy.
  • The environment is less of a concern for Millennials in the U.S., compared with their global counterparts, in which 35 percent of American Millennials say climate change is a “very pressing” issue, compared to a majority (53 percent) of global respondents.
  • More than one-third (35 percent) of American Millennials are very optimistic about their future, compared to 32 percent worldwide.
  • More than two-thirds (68 percent) of American Millennials believe their quality of life is better now than it was for their parents’ generation.
  • Seventy-six percent of American Millennials choose being happy as more important than being famous or successful.
  • However, American Millennials express concern about entering the workforce and retirement. Fifty-eight percent surveyed say it’s difficult to make the progression from school to the workplace and 49 percent say they expect to have to continue working indefinitely, as opposed to having enough money for retirement.
  • If they had an extra paycheck one month, most American Millennials surveyed – 71 percent – would save it, 16 percent would spend it, and 13 percent would invest it.
  • A majority – 91 percent – believe technology makes language barriers easier to overcome. However, American Millennials surveyed don’t think technology is an equalizer, with 63 percent saying technology has widened the gap between the rich and the poor.
  • American Millennials also believe the following are rights, not privileges: freedom of expression (87 percent), ability to vote (81 percent), and choosing who to marry (80 percent).

In alignment with the survey results that shed affirming light on the power of technology to affect societal change and empower this next generation of leaders and innovators, Telefonica believes the possibilities of technology should be open to everyone and is engaged in several significant activities that make a real impact on the lives of people and society. These programs include:

  • Think Big Youth Program: Investing in the ideas and digital literacy of thousands of young people.
  • Talentum: Creating job and digital learning opportunities for young people and university graduates.
  • Wayra: Supporting young digital start-ups with a worldwide average of investing in a new start-up every three days since it launched operations and creating nearly three new jobs every day.
  • ProNino: Eradicating child labor in Latin America.
  • Open Web Device Platform: New operating system developed with not-for-profit Mozilla to allow developers to produce apps with fewer resources.

The survey results will be discussed in-depth at the FT-Telefonica Millennials Summits: The Interactive Generation in London on June 4 and in Sao Paulo on June 6, 2013. For more information on the survey, please visit

Survey Methodology
Telefonica, in partnership with the Financial Times, commissioned 12,171 online quantitative interviews among Millennials, aged 18-30, across 27 countries in six regions including North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Middle East / Africa. Penn Schoen Berland conducted the survey from 11 January – 4 February 2013. Millennials from Argentina, Australia,Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy,Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey,United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela were surveyed. Country sample sizes represented in the global number are weighted by the percent of the population in each country with access to the Internet. The global margin of error is +/-.9 percent. In the U.S., 1,000 adult Millennials were surveyed, with a margin of error of +/-3.1 percent.

About Telefonica
Telefonica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of market capitalisation and number of customers. From this outstanding position in the industry, and with its mobile, fixed and broadband businesses as the key drivers of its growth, Telefonica has focused its strategy on becoming a leading company in the digital world. The company has a significant presence in 24 countries and a customer base that amounts close to 316 million accesses around the world. Telefonica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.


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