Millennials: The new American dreamers


By Nick Shore

“We are reinventing the American Dream. We haven’t had that opportunity in 100 years”, Philip Lauri, Creative Director of Detroit Lives!, interviewed as part of the new Generation Innovation study from MTV Research

Here in the MTV Strategic Insights team, we have carefully tracked how today’s young generation - raised with much engaged parenting and education, goal-orientation and self-esteem - is reacting to graduating into a world where they hold an average of $26,000 of college debt and face double-digit unemployment levels.

In a recent MTV study entitled “Generation Innovation,” we set off to look at the resiliency of a Millennial generation that is pushing back against a system in need of repair… whether the economy, the environment, the education system and more.

What we found was counter to the often-charged caricature of today’s youth as “entitled” and “coddled.” Instead, we found a vibrant and strong fixer/maker/builder culture where nearly 3 in 4 Millennials believe “our generation is starting a movement to change old, outdated systems.” Put more broadly, if the American Dream isn't working as promised, Millennials will take it upon themselves to create the next “version” of America.

The heady mix of forces driving this generation is only partly due to their sense of needing to fix something broken. The other, even more potent, side of the coin is the primacy they place on their own power of creativity. When asked "what word best defines the DNA of your generation?” the number one response was "Creative" and number two “Self-expressive.” A full 70% of Millennials in the study agreed "Creativity will save us!”


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