Millennials in the U.S. who become parents have a more pragmatic, conservative outlook, according to a new study.
But millennials don’t think of “conservative” in a red versus blue sense. Rather, it betokens an attitude that influences their spending habits, their commitment to the Internet and certain social beliefs widely seen as quintessentially millennial.
The researchers noted that 22.9 million out of 40 million millennials in the U.S. have children, and 10,000 millennial women are giving birth each day.
“Interest in millennials has reached a fever pitch — and rightfully so, this generation influences the purchases and beliefs of nearly every American,” FutureCast president Jeff Fromm said in a statement.
The researchers did not study whether becoming parents changed the millennials’ attitudes or if there was something fundamentally different about the people who had children. But the data showed “two very disparate groups,” Fromm said.
Consider millennials’ political, social and civic commitment.
Of the non-parents in the survey, 12.5% of belonged to a civic organization, compared with only 0.3% of parents. Likewise, 10% of millennials belonged to an environmental organization, but just 0.2% with children did so.
In fact, the study found that with regard to environmental issues, millennials’ commitment to recycling — a basic conservation ideal — was lower in parents. Childless millennials were more likely than the total U.S. population to believe and be proactive in nearly every category of recycling.
Of the parents, 32.9% identified themselves as “conservative evangelical Christians,” compared with 9.6% of non-parents.
However, more millennial parents, 30%, self-identified with the Democratic Party than any other.
“Millennials do not think of the word ‘conservative’ in political terms, but instead, a definition of how they feel about their household and young family,” Fromm said.
“In fact, when it comes to political outlook, millennials define themselves as ‘middle of the road’ more than any other answer.”