Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Culture: Matching a Demographic

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Much like trying to predict the daily weather based on climatic projections, it's dangerous to try to extrapolate demographic information to an individual that in theory belongs to that demographic. I've always been amused by the fact that in many respects, especially in my mid-20's, I more closely followed the generic preferences of a female in my age group rather than a male. In terms of what music I preferred on the radio, how much and what I cooked and ate, who I voted for, and where I got my news, looking at predictions for the female "generation X" demographic much more closely matched my behavior than the male "generation X" demographic. Of course, I also listened to AM talk radio in addition to NPR and liked trains, which are almost unheard-of traits amongst females of any age.

So, I was again amused with the results of the recent Pew Research Center survey of millennials, the generation formerly known as Generation Y, currently age 18-29. The study showed, for example, that 26% of millennials consider religion "not important" to them personally, more than any other generation. I fit in there. 53% believe that government should do more to solve problems, the only generation where the majority believes that. I fit in there. More millennials consider themselves liberals than conservative, the only generation to do that. I fit in there. The similarities extend to lifestyle as well. 41% of millennials only own a cell phone and have no land line. I fit in there, too, as well as with television viewing habits. Could it be that I should actually consider myself a member of the millennial generation instead of my own Generation X?

Of course, the very idea of re-classifying myself as a millennial is crazy. Millennials self-define based on use of technology, and I only reluctantly use technology that I find useful, not engaging in non-professional social networking or owning a smart phone or e-book reader. Furthermore, I don't think much of tattoos or body piercing on anyone else, never mind myself.

Interestingly, Pew has posted a quiz on its web site which allows one to test just "how millennial" they are. I scored just 50%, more than the average Generation X'er, who would score 33%, but nowhere near the 73% mark expected of a true millennial. Sometimes the statistics hold true. I'm not a millennial female after all.

1 comment:

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