Despite this distrust of people and detachment from traditional institutions, Millennials are not out of step with older adults when it comes to their views about big business and the role of government.They are about as likely as their elders to have a favorable view of business, and they are more likely than older generations to say they support an activist government.
Millennials have emerged into adulthood with low levels of social trust.
They are “digital natives”—the only generation for which these new technologies are not something they’ve had to adapt to. For example, 81% of Millennials are on Facebook, where their generation’s median friend count is 250, far higher than that of older age groups (these digital generation gaps have narrowed somewhat in recent years).
Millennials are also distinctive in how they place themselves at the center of self-created digital networks.
In response to a long-standing social science survey question, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people,” just 19% of Millennials say most people can be trusted, compared with 31% of Gen Xers, 37% of Silents and 40% of Boomers.
Their racial diversity may partly explain Millennials’ low levels of social trust.