Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christianity Plummets Among Generation Y

A recent study shows that one in three Echo Boomers doubt God exists:

The poll, conducted in April by the Pew Research Center, showed that 31 percent of respondents under the age of 30 have doubts about the existence of God, compared to 9 percent of those polled who were 65 or older.

Take note of how that compares with older generations of Americans. The rise of young people turning away from religion seems to be affecting Christianity the most, out of the major religions, as a New York Times article highlights:

Life in Deep Ellum is part of a wave of experimentation around the country by evangelicals to reinvent “church” in an increasingly secular culture, and it comes as the megachurch boom of recent decades, with stadium seating for huge crowds, Jumbotrons and smoke machines, faces strong headwinds. A national decline in church attendance, the struggling economy and the challenges of marketing to millennials have all led to the need for new approaches.

I noted in Generation Y To Church: "Bye" that the current approach doesn't work. The bigger disaster for these churches, which will continue the trend of Millennials abandoning church, is that they've failed with young men. One marketing note that I've always observed is that women generally follow men (in specific areas, of which Protestantism belongs), not vice versa. But few Christian churches have caught this memo (the irony here being that the churches which have done well bringing men to them, typically have done well as congregations - vice versa has not been true).

Pertinent Blog Note:

Last year, I interviewed Dr. Thomas White on young men in Protestant churches to provide a perspective on why a branch of Judeo-Christianity is struggling with a particular demographic. On March 15th, I interviewed Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist to provide a secular perspective on the Millennial generation and how it sees atheism.

Even with new marketing gimmicks and ideas, similar to Europe, Christianity may be seeing its popularity in the United States decline permanently. Like in physics, once the momentum is against you, it's hard to reverse the power - and these marketing ideas, while short term quick-fixes, don't deal with the main issue: many in Generation Y don't see the value in Christianity.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Millennial Male Net Worth By Birth Year

I now have posted the financial data of male Echo Boomers by year of birth, calculating their net worth.

A major disclosure about net worth from Generation Y and Money:

Mortgage debt, collection debt and medical debt were eliminated. Few Echo Boomers were able to provide an estimate of these figures. I eliminated these categories early on, as the only debt Echo Boomers could elucidate on was credit card debt, student loan debt, auto loan debt, and personal and equity loans and lines. This, however, means that the study undercalculates the liabilities of Echo Boomers, though it also be of note that fewer than 11% of Echo Boomers are homeowners.

In other words, if I were to include these data, the net worth would be lower.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Millennial Men Have "Tons" of Time

Role model for Generation Y men?

In U.S. Males Dump Marriage I assert that the marriage rate for Echo Boomers will be low because of a growing disinterest in marriage from the men in Generation Y. However, what if the men of Generation Y decide to change their mind? Could they decide to have families later in life?

One researcher I interviewed, Dan Eisenberg, had some fascinating discoveries on the age of fathers and telomere length:

However, previous studies have shown that children of older fathers have longer telomeres (probably because as a man ages, telomeres in his sperm get longer). Our study shows for the first time that this happens across at least two generations: older fathers not only have offspring with longer telomeres, but their sons also have offspring with longer telomeres. That is, having an older grandfather on your dad’s side at the birth of your father predicts that you will have longer telomeres.

He goes on to explain that longer telomere length plays a factor in longer lifespan. In other words, in terms of long lifespans, older fathers provide their offspring with an advantage. Kay Hymowitz, when discussing family formation offered a social sentiment about this biological clock difference between men and women:

Adding to the tension is the biological clock. Women are aware, either consciously or not, that if they are planning to have a family, they’d better be settled with a husband by their mid 30’s when their fertility takes a big drop. That means they’re more likely to get serious about finding a mate in their later 20’s. With no biological pressure, men don’t have the same time frame. Some of them continue to think of themselves as boys – or “dudes” – and to think of adulthood as something way off in the distance.

This social observation shows the disconnect between men and women in this generation, and this disconnect is rooted in biology (though we're also seeing the social effects of it). As it turns out, Dan Eisenberg was on to something because evolution may favor older fathers and younger mothers, according to a recent, peer-reviewed study:

Thus old-age male fertility provides a selective force against autosomal deleterious mutations at ages far past female menopause with no sharp upper age limit, eliminating the wall of death. Our findings illustrate the evolutionary importance of males and mating preferences, and show that one-sex demographic models are insufficient to describe the forces that shape human senescence.

The above link provides statistical and scientific goodies for those interested in reading the details.

This reminds me some of a discussion that I had with Michael Kimmel, the author of Guyland. He pointed out that Millennial men have a lot of time to decide about family matters, such as who to marry and when. And both he and Kay Hymowitz have discovered this in the social world that happens to be well-known in the world of science.

In other words, yes, Millennial men may stand at the end of the isle at some point, just don't expect that to occur in high percentages for the next several decades. And if you build products around this demographic of men, keep this in mind as both a selling point and an assumption to avoid.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Misconceptions About Generation Y

On Twitter, I've seen some discussions regarding Generation Y that simply lack evidence to support them and some that we could classify as wishful thinking. Make no mistake: a temptation exists to assert that this next generation will solve all of the problems and be much more perfect that former generations (for some - especially Echo Boomers), but that's simply untrue.

Generation Y Is Healthier

This misconception is more popular because the US has seen an increase in obesity and some are desperate to see some progress. Will Generation Y be more health conscious? According to the data, no (I've addressed this before this in the posts Will Generation Y Be More Fitness-Conscious? and Media Lies and Millennial "Doting"). The truth is that Echo Boomers are actually contributing to the problem; and thus restaurants do not see a need to produce healthy foods (contradicting what the Twitter user had previously said).

Echo Boomer's Use of Social Media Will Save the World

Social media does not produce wealth (this is real wealth). Social media generates conversations (ie: talk), which, without action, fails to produce anything of value. Some marketers hope that they will be able to use these conversations to make money - but many of these attempts have failed. Regardless, making money off of conversations still doesn't produce wealth. How are people's standard of living increasing with social media (it's not)? How is the cost of living declining? How are people more productive because of social media?

Quite frankly, social media appeals to Generation Y because during youth, people tend to waste countless hours talking and hoping this talk will generate solutions (it doesn't). If you read through history and philosophy, you'll notice that the successful tend to be doers, not talkers. This age will be no exception.

Generation Y Is Wise To Continue Higher Education

No one explains the education bubble better than Mish or TheBubbleBubble (on Twitter). In a nutshell, Generation Y is wasting numerous hours in school. Most college programs simply lack any value (whether academic or financial). Schools have also contributed to a world of "knowing" and not "doing." A world where everyone knows what the problems are (think the national debt), yet somehow, can't do anything about it. Most will waste their time in school and many will see that their academic credentials did nothing to better the world; meanwhile, Deans of schools will brag how wonderful their programs are, while students struggle to actually get jobs. Students may see in time, though, that it requires doing and school offered very little - if any - of that.

Final Note

Just because some dislike these conclusions and facts does not mean they lack truth. We live in an era where wishful thinking is ubiquitous. But reality, like always, has something different to say. And the data show the reality.