Survey: 2 in 3 millennials feel disconnected from their communities

Researchers found that four in 10 millennials feel more attached to an online community as opposed to their real-life surroundings.

NEW YORK — If you feel like millennials are a strange breed that seem like they just don’t mesh with most people your city, the feeling is apparently mutual. A recent survey found that nearly two out of three millennials said they didn’t feel they belonged in the communities they lived in.

The researchers, commissioned by the community investment platform CNote, compared survey responses of 1,000 millennials with that of 1,000 non-millennials. Sixty-four percent of the millennial participants agreed they felt disconnected from their community.

Why such a large number? The most popular response was that they just didn’t have time to invest. Compared with the non-millennials, millennials were far more likely (51 percent vs. 33 percent) to say they didn’t have the free time to be active in their community.

“We all want to contribute and be a part of something bigger than ourselves,” says Catherine Berman, C-Note co-founder, in a statement. “The challenge with busy schedules and regular distractions is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.”

Meanwhile, 22 percent of millennials said they weren’t active because they don’t have any friends in the area. Another 27 percent chalked it up to just not knowing how to get involved. Of those who said they felt generally estranged from where they lived, 57 percent said the issue caused them to feel lonely.

Despite the disconnect, seven in 10 millennials agreed they do want to be a bigger part of the community. Yet just 54 percent of non-millennials had the same desire.

Interestingly, and perhaps a sign of the times, 43 percent of millennials said they feel more attached to a particular online community, be it Facebook or a chat group, than any offline community. A third said they find online communities more convenient to be a part of, and 26 percent said they feel more comfortable communicating online.

Comparatively, only 26 percent of non-millennials were more attached to an internet environment.

There’s good reason for anyone to get more involved locally. Research shows that 72 percent of Americans feel happier when they’re connected to their neighborhood and community. The authors of this latest poll put together a list of the top ten “vital” actions when participating in one’s community. Here’s how to step up your support:

Be friendly with the neighbors (69%)
Support local businesses (54%)
Not causing any trouble (50%)
Volunteer/donate to charity (44%)
Regularly help someone/some people out (44%)
Be involved in local projects/charities (38%)
Help the homeless (34%)
Volunteer at schools/clubs/residential homes etc. (32%)
Be part of the neighborhood watch (29%)
Coach/sponsor a local youth sports team (13%)

The survey was conducted by OnePoll in May 2018.

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