Americans used to be taught to value hard work, family, religion and patriotism, but in the new age of social media and hyperawareness, young Americans are placing their values in other areas of life.
The Wall Street Journal and NBC News recently conducted a survey rating the values among young people throughout the country. When comparing the answers of young people 21 years ago to young people today, they found that back then patriotism, religion, hard work and family were among the top values — today, the only remaining constant is hard work.
According to the survey, 61 percent cited patriotism as very important to them today, which is down 9 percentage points from 1998.
Fifty percent cited religion, down 12 points, and some 43 percent placed a high value on having children, down 16 points from 1998.
Fox News spoke with students from prestigious New York City universities about what they valued the most in their lives. They seemed to place their values in areas that are more self-minded such as happiness, passion, empathy and self-progression.
“I value my friends a lot, I value my family too; but not the family I am going to have in the future, but the family I have now," said Sara, 22.
Religion is a topic that seems to be at the bottom of the list of what millennials value. When asked whether or not religion was very important, a large number of young people said they “broke free” from their former religions. Stella, 18, a student of NYU said her parents raised her with two religions, her mother being Protestant and her father being Jewish.
“They really gave me the opportunity to pick where I wanted to go and I picked neither," she said.
Millennials acknowledge the shift in religious values from the former generation to now — some cite the age of social media and the exchanging of information as the reason for the disconnect.
The idea of marriage and having children is also a value that is scarce among millennials. With the national divorce rate being 2.9 per 1,000 population, according to official records, millennials feel that what was once a guaranteed route of life may not work for them.
Femi, a student at Columbia University, feels like marriage has become “archaic.” “A lot of us, we were raised by our parents and we saw those marriages kind of deteriorate, and even if they did stay together the love might have not been there. I feel as we progress these institutions whether it be marriage or religion, they start to seem archaic.”
Patriotism among millennials seems to be at a low, according to the students we spoke with. Millennials we spoke to were more critical of the Trump administration and the current policies, saying they felt that “America is losing a sense of national identity.”
Millennials are torn between loving their country and condoning the treatment of some Americans in this country. “I think it’s really difficult to be proud to be an American when so many Americans are getting deported and getting attacked for being who they are when they have no choice in the matter,” Stella said.
There are millennials who remain hopeful and still value the importance of patriotism. Gabe, an 18-year-old student at New York University, said he is “definitely still proud" of being American because "this country has always been one to celebrate progress and openness" and that "if there is any country that can combat hatred" it is America.
The one constant value that has never seemed to waiver is the belief in hard work and self-reliance. Millennials grasp this notion full-on and are making no excuses for accomplishing the goals and objectives of their generation.