Staunton, May 16 – Compared to their elders, members of Russia’s millennial generation are marrying later, having fewer children, attending church, growing up more slowly, and changing jobs more frequently in pursuit of higher incomes, a new study by Vadim Radayev of the Higher School of Economics concludes.
Those are all trends that hardly correspond to the values Vladimir Putin has been promoting, although he is likely to be happy that this generation is healthier than its predecessors, drinking less, smoking less, and exercising more regularly than the members of any of its predecessor.
The full study, “Millenials Compared to Previous Generations” (in Russian, Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya, 3(2018): 15-33), is available at socis.isras.ru/article/7095. Its contents are summarized today at iq.hse.ru/news/219198591.html).
Radayev defines generations in terms not just of dates of birth but also of the most important experiences the groups had when coming of age in the late teens and early 20s. He thus divides Russians as part of the mobilization generation, the thaw generation, the stagnation generation, the reform generation, the millennials, and Generation Z.
Most of this study is devoted to the Millenials, sometimes known as Generation Y, whose members were born between 1982 and 2000 and who have come of age between 1999 and 2017, that is the Putin years. He draws a number of key conclusions about how different they are from their predecessors:
· “In contrast to their predecessors, the millennials haven’t hurried ‘to grow up,’ putting off marriages, the birth of children and joining the job market.” Only 54 percent of them by age 27 have married, down from 68 percent among the reform generation; and 54 percent have not had children, a share up from 30.7 percent among the earlier one.
· The share of millennials who are part of the workforce is 64 percent, down from 73 percent among the reform generation; and in pursuit of higher incomes quickly, they change jobs far more often than do older groups.
· “To a greater degree than their predecessors, millennials are concerned about having a healthy way of life.” They drink less and smoke less than their elders and are more actively involved in physical fitness routines.
· As expected, the millennials are an online generation; but they are not responsible for the rise of Internet as much as their immediate predecessor generation was, although usage is still going up. The millennials, however, are more likely to use social networks than their elders, 86 percent compared to 69 percent. They use Facebook less often than many think: only 13 percent of them turn to that outlet. Far more use VKontakte (68 percent) and Odnoklassniki (49 percent).
· Only 32 percent of millennials identify as religious and only six percent regularly attend religious services, both far less than any of the preceding generations.
· “The younger the generation, the more often its representatives feel themselves to be happy.” Sixty percent of Russian millennials do, higher than older groups. And they are more optimistic about the economic situation as well. But these figures may very well fall as the group ages and is more dependent on the economy than it is today.