Young adults living in age of anxiety – new study reveals global trends of Millennials and Generation Z

Most young people feel connected but lonely and four in ten are gripped by anxiety about money and career paths, a new global study has found.

World Vision and US-based research company Barna Group have revealed a sneak peak into a survey of more than 15,000 people aged 18 to 35, in 25 countries including Australia, revealing trends among the world’s first truly global generation.

The full research, which forms the basis of The Connected Generation project, will be launched at a series of special events in Australia in October in a partnership between Barna Group, World Vision and Alpha Australia.

Key insights to be shared with an Australian focus at events in October, include:

●Connected but alone. Despite being a hyper-connected and globally minded generation, many young adults say they feel lonely. Fifty-seven percent of 18–35-year-old respondents sense a connection to people around the world, but just one in three (33 per cent) says they feel deeply cared for by those around them.

●Longing to make a difference. More than three-quarters (77 per cent) say events around the world matter to them. When young adults engage with a community of worship, they’re looking for concrete teaching, opportunities to fight injustice and friends to join them along the way.

●Spiritual openness. There is a general openness toward spirituality and religion, including Christianity; more than half of the 18–35-year-olds polled feel that religion is good for people and society. But there is less warmth toward the Church among those who have left their faith.

●Age of anxiety. Worry and insecurity, often tied to finances and vocation, are prominent. Four in 10 young adults are anxious about important decisions, uncertain about the future or afraid to fail (40 per cent each).

●Resilient discipleship. Across religious climates, the data point to keys for forming faithful Christ-followers, even among those Christians who lapse in religiosity. About three-quarters of practicing Christians (73 per cent) say there is someone in their life who encourages them to grow spiritually.

World Vision Australia’s Chief of Corporate Affairs, Jill Roche said:

“World Vision, Barna and Alpha Australia have joined together to release and unpack the largest ever global study of Millennials and their attitudes toward Christianity,” Ms Roche said.

“Over three special events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane we will explore what the Australian faith-based community can learn from the “Connected Generation” and how we can better engage with them. Having seen the research, I can tell you it is set to get people talking.”

“With specific data on young Australians and their faith, these events will feature expert presentations, panels with local pastors and practical insights that will help guide your leadership and outreach.”

World Vision International President and CEO, Andrew Morley, said:

“Through this important and comprehensive study, we are seeing that young adults are truly globally minded with a genuine desire to make a difference. But The Connected Generation also reveals a need to rethink the way we and churches connect with and mobilise young adults,” Mr Morley said.

“Our prayer is that this study will help church leaders understand, disciple and ultimately activate this connected generation to become all that God created them to be. In making a lasting impact on these young adults, we make a lasting impact on the world.”

Barna President David Kinnaman, said:

“Through the largest single study in Barna’s history, we’ve gained unique insights into spiritual development today and a wide-angle lens on the most pressing issues and concerns facing Millennials and Gen Z—cohorts who are much talked about and often misunderstood,” Mr Kinnaman said.

“In addition to providing many hopeful signs about the opportunities ahead of these generations, the study shows powerful connections between practicing faith and overall well-being. We anticipate the findings will help Christian leaders of all ages partner with the emerging generations globally to take advantage of their unique ‘connected’ moment.”

Early findings, released today (September 11) give a preview to the full results to be released at special events in Australia in October. The events will be hosted by World Vision Australia and will feature David Kinnaman, Barna President, Mark Sayers, Senior Leader of Red Church and Melinda Dwight, National Director of Alpha Australia.


22 October 2019

NewHope Baptist Church

3 Springfield Road, Blackburn North


23 October 2019

Gateway Baptist Church – Mackenzie Campus

1052 Mount Gravatt Capalaba Road, MacKenzie


24 October 2019

Barney’s Anglican Church

57-61 Mountain Street, Ultimo

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