Are Hispanic Millennials Leading Their Generation?

By Orchowski, Margaret Sands | The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, January 27, 2014 | Go to article overview

Are Hispanic Millennials Leading Their Generation?


Orchowski, Margaret Sands, The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education


Are Hispanic Millennials Leading Their Generation?

Much has been written about America's some 80 million "Millennials." They are identified variously as young adults who are approximately 18-34 years old, born between 1979 and 1996.

They are the largest age group in the U.S. today. According to Adweek, one in five is Hispanic. Millennials will run the nation if not the world in another 15 years or so. What are they like?

A Time magazine cover story in May described Millennials as the "Me, Me, Me!" generation: lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents."

The renowned pollster John Zogby has studied them for years. He analyzes and describes them in a new data-filled booklet The First Globals as "emerging adults who may find they are stuck in perennial delayed adulthood. They may become a "Lost Generation of CENGAS - College-EducatedNot-Going-Anywhere. "

Time magazine asks and tries to answer "Can Millennials Save Us All?" Zogby asks "How can the unique great potential of the First Globals be unleashed?"

It's all seems rather negative. Millennials appear to be coddled, overconfident, entitled. But these are positive aspects in many ways as well. Millennials really are the epitome of what an older generation envisioned as the ideal citizen: diverse, educated, free-thinking, optimistic, unencumbered youths who "live-local, act-global."

Millennials are adapted to the age they are living in - a highly connected techno world seemingly without borders. It is an age of unprecedented populist abundance, ambition and high expectations. Most middle-class and emerging middleclass Millennials are encouraged to spend years to develop their unique talents by eager parents willing to sacrifice almost everything so that their kids have a good life. In fact, everyone wants to protect them well into adulthood (i.e., Obamacare insurance until 26), knowing that in fact, these times are really tough.

Hispanic Millennials with their diverse multinational backgrounds and close, ambitious recent-immigrant families and communities reflect these Millennial characteristics. In fact, research data and anecdotal information obtained through public sources, personal interviews and analysis, seems to show that Hispanic Millennials in many ways, are carrying the torch of Zogby's First Globals.

Millennials have extraordinary "planetary sensibilities" according to Zogby.

"They are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation yet. They are the first generation to have benefited from integrated schools, including a national percentage of college students that is around 15 percent minority. They seem to define themselves at an early age by attachment and identity groupings. Millennials themselves are the transition to the next America," Zogby concludes.

Obviously Hispanic-Americans are a big factor in this multiethnic, -cultural, -national Millennial characteristic.

Zogby's analytic polls show that "35 percent of Millennials think of themselves as global citizens - substantially higher than any other age cohort." "By far and away, First Globals are more aware of the importance of the need to speak another language," reports Zogby. Sixty percent believe it is very important or somewhat important.

These are almost the defining characteristics of many Hispanic Millennials. "American Hispanic Millennials still very much embrace the Hispanic culture/s of their diverse Latino heritage countries, even though they are the first generation that is predominantly native bom," writes Rebecca Villaneda in Hispanic Business. "While they prefer English over Spanish, Hispanic Millennials are clearly the most 'American' of Latino market segments," writes Stuart Feil at Adweek. "They have melded their Hispanic culture with the American youth culture."

Annette González-Malkin of Hunter Public Relations agrees. "While most Hispanic Millennials were born in the U.S. and prefer speaking and consuming media in English, many are still holding onto their Latino heritage. …

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