65% of Americans Say Millennials Are "Entitled," 58% of Millennials Agree


The latest Reason-Rupe poll of all Americans on landlines and cell phones finds mixed emotions when it comes to the youngest adult generation. Respondents were asked how well the following words described young people, ages 18-29:

Nearly two-thirds (65%) say the term "entitled" describes millennials very or somewhat well, but 30 percent said it did not describe the generation well. Seven in 10 say the term "selfish" also describes millennials very or somewhat well, while only 27 percent disagree.

Not all perceptions of millennials are negative. Sixty percent say the term "tolerant" does a good job describing young people, while 38 percent says it does not.

Although a majority, decidedly fewer say young people have a strong work ethic. Fifty-five percent say millennials are "hard working" and "responsible" while 43 percent disagree.

Significant differences between age cohorts emerge on young people's work ethic and personal responsibility:

Fully 77 percent of 18-29 year olds say their cohort is "responsible" while only 49 percent of Americans over 30 agree. Instead, 48 percent of Americans over 30 says "responsible" does not describe millennials.

Three-fourths (74%) of 18-29 year olds say their cohort is "hard working," but only 49 percent of people over 30 shares this view. Rather, 47 percent of older Americans say millennials are not hardworking.

There is generally more agreement among the cohorts on whether young people are entitled or tolerant. Young people are 9 points more likely to say they are tolerant (67% to 58%) and 9 points less likely to say they are entitled (58% to 67%).

Interestingly, Americans under 30 are as likely as those over 30 to say 18-29 year olds are selfish (71%).

Republicans are considerably less likely to have a favorable view of young people's work ethic these days. While 64 percent of Democrats say "hard working" describes millennials only 45 percent of Republicans agree. Instead a majority (52%) of Republicans say "hard working" does not do a good job describing young adults. The same numbers are true for the term "responsible." Democrats believe young people are responsible, while most Republicans do not.

Republicans are also considerably less likely to view millennials as "tolerant." While 68 percent of Democrats think the term "tolerant' accurately describes millennials, only 51 percent of Republicans agree.

The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll, executed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, conducted live interviews with 1000 adults on cell phones (500) and landlines (500) August 6-10, 2014. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.7%. Full poll results can be found here. including poll toplines (pdf)  and crosstabs (xls).