New Book by Faculty Fellow Stella Rouse: 'The Politics of Millennials'

Aug. 9, 2018

book jacket of "The Politics of Millennials"ENACT congratulates Faculty Fellow Stella Rouse on the publication of "The Politics of Millennials: Political Beliefs and Policy Preferences of America's Most Diverse Generation" (University of Michigan Press, 2018), which she co-authored with Ashley D. Ross of Texas A&M University.

Rouse is an associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, where she teaches her ENACT course as well as serves as director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement and associate director of the Critical Issues Poll.

"The Politics of Millennials" offers a first of its kind analysis of the Millennial Generation's political attitudes and policy preferences. The book utilizes data from multiple original surveys, as well from extensive, original focus group interviews, to explore how the Millennial Generation identity or frame affects this cohort's political attitudes.

"Millennials and post-millennials are poised to play a crucial role in the future health and direction of our democracy. As a result, they need real world opportunities to engage with the political process," says Rouse. "The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation is just the type of program that offers young people the chance to be civically active, in a way that they can see actual results from their actions."

"As 'The Politics of Millennials' shows," Rouse explains, "young people are not disillusioned by politics, but more by the political process that has produced constant gridlock and few solutions for the problems that matter to this cohort. The ENACT mission and initiatives are ways to break down these barriers and allow young people to see the difference they can make."

The findings show that important and unique characteristics of the Millennial Generation significantly and substantively affect this cohort's political attitudes, policy preferences and levels of political engagement, which have meaningful implications for the current and future U.S. political landscape.

The Millennial Generation, the cohort born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, is the largest generation in the United States. It exceeds one-quarter of the population and is the most diverse generation in U.S. history. Millennials grew up experiencing 9/11, the global proliferation of the internet and of smart phones, and the worst economic recession since the Great Depression fo the 1930s. Their young adulthood has been marked by rates of unemployment and underemployment surpassing those of their parents and grandparents, making them the first generation in the modern era to have higher rates of poverty than their predecessors at the same age.

"The Politics of Millennials" explores the factors that shape the millennial generation's unique political identity, how this identity conditions political choices and how this cohorts diversity informs political attitudes and beliefs. Few scholars have empirically identified and studied the political attitudes and policy preferences of millennials, despite the size and influence of this generation. This book explores politics from a generational perspective, first, and then combines this with other group identities that include race and ethnicity to bring a new perspective to how we examine identity politics.