This presentation focuses on Young Americans: who they are, what they do, and who they hope to be.
The Millennial Generation, or Generation Next as Pew Center refers to it, are those born between 1985 and 2004. In 2007, there were 34 million teens in the U.S. The median age of the U.S. is 36.6 years. 60 percent of 18-25 year olds don’t live with their parents but still have close ties to their family. 73 Percent of young Americans see their parents at least once a week, and 85 percent maintain contact with their parents via phone at least once a week. 40 percent of young Americans between 18-25 live at home with their parents. 73 percent of Millennials see their parents at least once a week, and 85 percent maintain contact via phone at least once a week. 40 percent of Millennials live at home with their parents.
Millennials are the most likely age group to send and receive text messages and instant messages. They are also involved in using social networking sites. 38 percent say they use social networking sites at least once a day. In fact, a 2005 study found that Americans age 8-18, spend 6.5 hours using electronic media every day. Have also been referred to as the “Multitasking generation”, as do homework and listen to music and instant message all at the same time. Question 1: How many of you use face book? You tube? MySpace? Question 2: How many of you own an X BOX 360? Wii? Play station 3? PSP? Nintendo DS? Question 3: How many of you have a cell phone? And how many of you instant message? Question 4: How many of you have met an American online? Join our Face book site!! 75 percent say that they know someone who uses a social networking site, even if the survey respondent does not use one. Many have mixed attitudes about technology; 84 percent think that technology makes people lazier, and 67 percent think technology makes people more isolated. However, 69 percent think technology makes people more efficient. The same group says technology makes it easier to make new friends. 75 percent say that they know someone who uses a social networking site, even if the survey respondent does not use one. 84 percent think that technology makes people lazier, and 67 percent think that technology makes people more isolated. However, 69 percent think technology makes people more efficient. The same percentage says technology makes it easier to make new friends.
Young Americans are a diverse segment of the population. Nearly 20 percent of young Americans are immigrants or are the children of immigrant parents. In 2007, 65% of the teenage population were white, 14% were African-American, 12% were Hispanic and 3% were Asian. Question: Does anyone know what the fastest growing population in the United States is? The Hispanic population in the U.S. is the fastest growing population; all together, they have surpassed the African American population. Interesting side note – U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2042 (33 years) the white population will be in the minority. The proportion of the youth population that is non-white is 38 percent. The proportion of the youth population that is non-white is 38 percent.
Historically, young voters are the least likely to vote. In 2004, however, turnout among young voters increased 12 percent from 2000, the largest increase in any age group. Participation among young voters has been on the rise ever since. By 2006, young voters supported Democrats over Republicans by 21 percentage points. The youth vote was very important in the 2008 presidential election. 69% of the first time voters gave their ballots to President Obama; 66% of those aged 18-29 voted for Obama – his biggest win in any age group. Top concerns among young voters: education, the Middle East, jobs, the economy, health care, and the environment (particularly global warming). Immigration and homeland security are also mentioned as priorities, although not as frequently. An estimated 44 million young voters ages 18-29 are eligible to vote in 2008, comprising 21 percent of the electorate. An estimated 6.5 million young voters voted in the 2008 primaries. On November 5, CIRCLE (www.civicyouth.org) will release its estimates for youth turnout in the 2008 general election. Participation has increased in all demographic groups within young voters. Today, Hispanic and African American voters are almost 30 percent of the youth vote. This is more than double the representation reported for these groups in 1992. Working students had the biggest increase in turnout, up 14 percent, but there are still disparities between college-educated and non-college educated youth. One in four young voters on Super Tuesday were college students, compared with one in 14 who were not college students. About half of young Americans 18-29 have never enrolled in college. Millennials are involved in their communities, but are ambivalent about formal politics. They dislike spin and polarized politics and are looking for ways to have authentic debates about the issues.
American youth go to school about the same amount as you have done – between 6 and 7 hours per day. But! They generally go to 6 classes (not including lunch) every day. So they have English every day, and math every day, and history every day. Your system, by the last few years of school, is closer to our university system in the arrangement of classes. 68% of American high school students feel that it is important to get good grades, YET 59% say they spend less than an hour a night on homework. Possibly due to the importance of extracurricular activities. Mention: Kindergarten through 12 th grade is free unless you choose to attend a private school which is not free and expensive.
The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that 18.4 million students were enrolled in college in fall 2008. This is up from 13.5 million students 20 years ago. Remember that higher education (college, university studies) is NOT free in the U.S. and can be very expensive. This is important, as some studies suggest that by next year (2010), 1 out of every 5 jobs in the U.S. will require a college degree. It’s also important because of the current economic crisis, to do what you can to make yourself marketable. 56 percent of undergraduates are women and 58 percent of graduate students are women. Half of young Americans ages 18-29 have never enrolled in college, but still have opportunities for professional success.
As the chart shows, young Americans are involved in many different types of activities. This data is taken from first year (freshman) college students and it shows that religion and volunteering are the most important. Participating in clubs and music are also pretty important. More young Americans are also studying abroad now than ever before too! “ The statistics are based on survey responses of 272,036 first-year students entering 356 four-year colleges and universities in the fall of 2007. The figures were statistically adjusted to represent the total population of approximately 1.4 million first-time, full-time students at four year institutions.” University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute.
51% of high school girls play on a high school sports team. Can anyone guess what sport is the most popular girls sport? Most popular girls sport is basketball.
58% of boys participate in a high school sports team. Anyone want to guess what the most popular guy sport is? American Football is the most popular. I also wanted to mention that if you play sports in HS it is important to make sure you keep good grades. If you don’t, you will not be able to play until you get your grades up again.
Clubs do many things, including giving job experience – such as the Yearbook and Newspaper clubs. Sometimes there’s a business club that runs a school store. Lots of music options – marching band, jazz band, symphony orchestra, choir, theater – 3 million high school students studying music in some way. Thousands more are in “garage bands.” What is that? I was in one. We were awful. It was fun. But there’s chess club, physics club, astronomy club, writer’s club, language club, drama club – just about anything you can think of. Also rally for causes. This one was to help victims of hurricane Katrina, others may organize for environmental issues or political concerns.
Norwegian and American graduations are very different. American high school graduates do not get to party all over the city like Russ’s do here on 17 th May. U.S. students graduate after 4 years of high school having completed the required classes; usually in the beginning of June. They participate in a graduation ceremony usually held at the school (see pic). Graduates wear a cap and gown, usually in your high school colors. This graduation ceremony signifies a “rite of passage” to the next phase of your life and it is taken quite seriously. At the ceremony, there is a valedictorian and a salutatorian; these are two students from the graduating class with the highest grade point average. The valedictorian usually gives a speech at graduation, with words of encouragement to all students for the next phase of their lives. The salutatorian may give a speech at the end of the ceremony but not always. Towards the end of the ceremony, the principle of the HS will call each student by name to come up to the stage and accept their diploma which is a piece of paper stating that you have graduated from high school. Then when everyone has received their diploma, the principle tells the students to move their tassel on their caps from the right to the left side which signifies in the ceremony you have officially graduated. Some classes throw their hats in the air but many schools have stopped that tradition because many hats would fall down and poke people in the eye. I also wanted to mention high school graduation announcements. These are just as important as “russekorts” are here. (see pic) these invitations are made however you want, usually has the name of your HS, year of graduation, and a picture of yourself along with an invitation to come watch you graduate. It is also common to have a graduation party around the time you graduate where friends and family stop by to wish you good luck and give you gifts or money. Almost every graduate has their own graduation party so it can get quite expensive and crazy if you have lots friends. Class rings are also quite popular to get when you graduate as well. The ring can be in any shape or style, color you want, but it has the name of your HS, year of graduation, and usually your birthstone in it. You can also personalize the ring by engraving your name on it, and pictures of sports, or clubs you were in.
9 out of 10 teens say they want to work. Can get driver’s license from age 14 (depending on the state). Can work officially at age 14 (but no more than 18 hours a week) and no limit after age 16. Federal minimum wage in U.S. is $7.25 an hour (which is about NOK__41.00___ per hour). Some states pay higher – California pays $8.00/hour, which is about NOK 45. Minimum wage is the same for an American of any age. The fact that teenagers work leads to great spending power - $200 billion a year last year. That’s about $1.5 billion less than the GDP of Denmark. Private sector is aware – one reason why movie makers re-edit R-rated films to PG-13, to capture that market. Companies spend $13 billion annually on marketing food and drinks to teenagers. And if they don’t work, and don’t go to school, some choose to join the military – five branches – army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard. Joining the military in the United States in voluntary and has been since the end of the draft in 1971.
These are pictures of common school activities – spirit week, prom, senior skip day, and simply hanging out with friends. Teens say that in order to fit in or be popular it is at least fairly important to get good grades (53%), have a car (33%), be involved in sports (32%), be involved in other after-school activities (28%), dress a certain way (21%) and have a cool ring tone for your phone (7%). 47% wish they could spend more time with their family, and a majority rank their friends as among the most important factors in their lives.
Young Americans have many different dreams for their futures. [“The statistics are based on survey responses of 272,036 first-year students entering 356 four-year colleges and universities in the fall of 2007. The figures were statistically adjusted to represent the total population of approximately 1.4 million first-time, full-time students at four year institutions.” University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute.]
For more information on young Americans and American life, visit America.gov .
<ul><li>Essays from students on what it means to be a young American </li></ul><ul><li>Young authors rewrite the endings to their favorite books </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic Journal focuses on the many pathways young Americans have available for professional success </li></ul>