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Study Finds Millennials ‘Optimistic’ About the Future


A recent study suggests millennials, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, believe the future will be good, while they worry most about climate change.

A recent study suggests millennials, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, believe the future will be good, while they worry most about climate change.

A new public opinion survey of young people around the world finds they are optimistic about the world and support progressive, or liberal, values. The study of people between the ages of 18 and 35 is the first World Economic Forum Global Shapers Annual Survey.

People in that age group who answered researchers’ questions are known as millennials. More than 26,000 millennials from 181 countries answered the survey in nine languages. They include business leaders, students, police officers, rich people and those who have little money.

The World Economic Forum says the results tell about the thinking, priorities and concerns of young people from all areas of the world.

Adeyemi Babington-Ashaye heads the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community. He says the results show that young people believe the world offers many opportunities. He says they also believe that technology has an important part in creating jobs.

He says millennials have a sense of unity and believe they share a destiny: the things they will experience in the future. He says many of those asked support technology, but are worried about it, too.

“Although they embrace technology, there is an overwhelming percentage (that) said that they were either concerned or very concerned about privacy. More than 70 percent said they avoided downloading applications for privacy concerns as well.”

These young people believe corruption and a lack of accountability are the most serious problems in their countries. Accountability is the belief by those in government that they must explain their actions or decisions. Millennials expect their leaders to take action while acting with honesty, humility and transparency.

Millennials believe climate change is the most serious problem facing the planet, followed by wars, religious conflicts and poverty.

Babington-Ashaye says people working on the poll were surprised by the sympathy so many millennials have for refugees. He says 67 percent of those asked have a positive view of refugees.

“So, not only do they have empathy, but 73 percent would welcome refugees to their country. And you can see it grades down to their city, their neighborhood. We even have 22 percent saying they'd welcome refugees to their home.”

The survey found that millennials prefer to use laptop computers for emailing and online shopping. But they prefer their smartphone for social media activities. More than half said they strongly support same-sex marriage, although most young people in the Middle East and Africa do not.

Fifty percent of those asked believe they can affect how decisions are made in their country. But only 44 percent of Europeans believe they can.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Correspondent Lisa Schlein reported this story from Geneva. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

optimistic – adj. having or showing hope for the future; expecting good things to happen

priority – n. something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first

embrace – v. to accept (something or someone) readily or gladly

humility – n. the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people; the quality or state of being humble

transparency – n. the quality that makes something obvious or easy to understand

empathy – n. the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions

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