NEW YORK — Millennials are often given a bad rap these days for being lazy, entitled, and careless with their words and actions. The subject of millennials’ influence on modern society has already been discussed ad nauseam, so much so that it feels like many older Americans’ beliefs about everyone born after 1981 has already turned into an unfair stereotype. Well, just like most stereotypes, a new survey of 1,000 millennials and 1,000 adults over the age of 38 finds that the notion that millennials are inconsiderate is largely false. In fact, the survey reveals that millennials actually perform more good deeds than any older generation.
The survey, commissioned by clothing company Pact, tallied a number of different actions, ranging from sending a kind text, picking up litter, or comforting a friend in need, as a “good deed.”
Many of the most common good deeds listed by respondents from both age groups were in reference to the environment. That being said, 83% of millennial respondents said they try to be environmentally conscious, compared to only 77% for the older group.
Furthermore, on the subject of environmentalism, the survey also revealed just how difficult it can be to act in an environmentally friendly manner all the time. For example, 53% of millennials and 31% of the older group admitted that they still end up performing environmentally unfriendly actions solely because it is unavoidable. However, millennials feel much more guilty about said actions (73% vs. 57%).
While shopping online with Amazon Prime, millennials feel more than three times as guilty as their older counterparts (17% vs. 5%), and millennials are also more likely to feel guilty after buying non-organic clothing (20% vs. 8%).
“Paradoxically, the ability to make big change comes through small acts,” says Kamie Kennedy, chief revenue officer of Pact, in a statement. “When a consumer chooses the eco-friendly option, the manufacturers of those products can aggregate all of that consumer preference and force real change in industries, labor practices and health standards. While choices are made individually, change is made collectively.”
In all, 83% of the millennial respondents agreed that small measures and action can make a big impact on the environment, compared to only 77% of respondents from the older group. Perhaps that’s why the survey also found millennials to be much more willing to share their goods and services. For example, millennials are more likely to share a taxi or car service (59% vs. 26%), hire someone local from a job app (29% vs. 12%), and work in a shared work space or office (43% vs. 21%).
Millennials also seem to be keeping more careful track of their words and actions as well, with 55% saying they believe their good deeds outweigh their bad, compared to only 30% for the older age group.
As far as shopping goes, millennials are more entrenched in their beliefs: 68% say they will not patron an establishment whose ethics don’t gel with their own, while only 46% of respondents from the older group shared the same sentiment. Additionally, millennials are twice as likely to buy organic food (11% vs. 6%) and buy organic clothes (10% vs. 4%).
On the bright side, regardless of age group, three quarters of all respondents believe they have become more environmentally conscious over the past five years.
Conversely, here’s the top 10 list of good deeds for older adults:
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.