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Major New Study Provides In-Depth Insight on Diverse Engagement of a Generation

Guest Post: by CIRCLE staff

The Millennials Civic Health Index, released today by four civic organizations, paints a comprehensive picture of young Americans 18 to 29.  The study challenges commonly held beliefs about a generation of young Americans whose votes played a critical role in November’s presidential election. The report highlights the diverse ways in which Millennials are taking action in their communities beyond the voting booth, online and offline, across different regions of the United States.

The report, produced by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, and, illustrates:

  • This generation of Americans represents a potent civic and political force – comprising a national voting bloc of 21.3% of eligible voters who are playing a critical role in our democracy and driving community action nationwide;
  • Education is strongly connected to civic engagement—some indicators show a college graduate is four or five times more likely to engage than someone without a high school diploma;
  • Millennials are hard hit by the economic crisis—62.9% are currently working, of which 31.2% work on a part-time basis—with potential implications for civic engagement;
  • Some surprising trends–while engagement typically increases with age, 22-25 year olds have lower levels of social cohesion and volunteerism than older or younger peers. And, while education predicts most forms of engagement, young people without a college education are more likely to help their neighbors on a regular basis.

The full study — with numerous additional findings such as the civic consequences of education; ways, types and rates of civic engagement; beliefs and opinions about pressing issues and elected leaders — can all be found here.

The study also incorporates a rich array of data including Harvard’s Institute of Politics’ twelve-year polling project on Millennials’ political views, and input from young leaders convened by The data was analyzed by CIRCLE’s team of researchers.