2020 Vision (2014)

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MTV Knowing Youth: Global Millennials’ Vision for the Year 2020

What do Millennials think the world will be like in 2020? This was the driving question of a new study by Viacom International Media Networks, “MTV Knowing Youth: 2020 Vision.”

This report was based on an online survey of over 6,800 people ages 15 to 24 across 32 countries, as well as qualitative work in 17 markets. The qualitative work had a sample of 72 participants and included in-person interviews in respondents’ hometowns, as well as user-generated, ethnographic videos.

Taken from that analysis, here are some key insights on what global Millennials think – or at least hope – life will be like in the year 2020:

In general, the world is a better place to be. Millennials are optimistic about the future. They do have concerns — about the economy, their ability to find work, and technology getting out of hand — but they generally believe the only possible future is one that is better than today. They see changes to society as having great potential to improve the economic and political issues that they observe.

Society is fairer and more equal.This more egalitarian world that Millennials hope for emerges from the injustices that they see in world politics. Social issues play a large role in their view of politics, and the world to which they aspire is free of poverty and corruption, embraces gay rights, is more democratic, and is liberated from class systems (particular issues tend to be applied to specific countries). However, while in general they are interested in global issues, they’re mainly motivated to change problems that are closer to home.

The economy is stronger and more stable. While most Millennials don’t fully understand the complexities of the economic crisis, they have a great desire for economic stability. Most were not personally touched by the global recession until they started to look for work and this is now their main concern. With so many Millennials unable to afford to move out of their parents’ homes, there is a feeling of frustration that while there is a world of opportunity open to them, they’re unable to take advantage. They’re neither angry nor pessimistic about the economic climate; they simply accept the situation and expect that it will improve as long as citizens play their part.

There is more renewable energy and less waste. While environmental issues aren’t necessarily a frequent topic of conversation with friends, Millennials are an eco-minded generation because they were brought up with the realities of a planet running out of natural resources. They hope for a world that makes the most of what’s available. Technology can aid in this journey, as long as it doesn’t produce too much waste.

Technology will make life easier – but it’s a double-edged sword. While Millennials enjoy the benefits of advancing technology, they also have a very real fear of its potential to compromise relationships. And when it comes to work, their views are similarly conflicted. Technology promises future opportunity in the form of jobs that don’t yet exist, but it also has the potential to cause unemployment by automating jobs that people do today. Rather than seeing it as the answer to all things in the future, Millennials are acutely aware of the responsibilities that come with technological advancements.

The world is more peaceful and tolerant of diversity. While the desire for peace does not make Millennials unique from other generations, this is nonetheless a strong theme for them. They don’t want conflict in the world, and their first-hand experience in mixing with other cultures causes them to struggle with the concepts of intolerance and war. They see it possible to communicate, share, and identify with people who are different from them.