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Brief Published: 11 Apr 2017

Young US Millennials: The New Traditionalists

In 2014, more than half (58%) of high-school seniors agreed that “it is better for a family if the man is the achiever and the women takes care of home and family”

A set of reports from the US-based Council on Contemporary Families has found that fewer of America’s youngest millennials (aged 18 to 25) support egalitarian family arrangements than the same age group 20 years earlier. Released on March 31, the findings are based on a survey that monitored the attitudes of US high-school seniors (roughly aged 18) for nearly 40 years.

The proportion of young people holding egalitarian views about gender roles rose steadily from 1977 to the mid-1990s, but has fallen since, the research found. In 1994, less than half (42%) of high-school seniors agreed that “it is better for a family if the man is the achiever, and the woman takes care of home and family”. By 2014, 58% preferred that arrangement – similar to results at the beginning of the 1980s.

However, “there is considerable evidence that the decline in support for ‘non-traditional’ domestic arrangements stems from young people witnessing the difficulties experienced by parents in two-earner families”, reports the New York Times. In Europe, where family-friendly work-life policies are more common, support for gender equality has continued to rise among all age groups.

Indeed, the Council on Contemporary Families study found that despite their views on gender equality in the home, 90% of millennials believe that men and women should be equal in the workplace. A separate study found that among 18- to 29-year-old Americans, support for paid parental leave for mothers and fathers was as high as 91% and 82%, respectively.

For more on the nuanced attitudes of this complex generation, see Moderate Millennials: Generation Staid.