Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

The Activists

23 percent of all Millennials

Photo credit: iStock.com/Skynesher

Photo credit: iStock.com/Skynesher

Making up a quarter of all Millennials and just under half of the older cohort (age 25-34), the Activists are further along in life and likely to have established families, careers, and a connection to their community. They form a core target community for news publishers—they are among the most engaged with news, most likely to use it to be informed citizens and to take action. They are most likely to be online to stay informed and the least likely to be online for social connection. Yet, this typology also makes clear that they are not the only news audience—just one that can be approached in a particular way.

Demographics: Members of this group are likely to have a family (70 percent either married or have kids) and be employed (81 percent), which is the highest employment rate among the Millennial groups.

Nearly half of Activists have at least a college degree (43 percent), which is the highest proportion of the four groups, and another 26 percent have some college or technical training.

Activists All Millennials
High school degree or less 30% 38%
Some college or trade school 26% 31%
College degree 24% 21%
Some graduate school or graduate degree 19% 10%

Data Source: Question: What is the last grade of school you completed?

Media Insight Project

A majority of Activists have a household income of more than $30,000 (61 percent), and 18 percent have incomes of more than $100,000 a year, which is the most among the four groups.

About 8 in 10 Activists (83 percent) rate their community as excellent or good compared with about 7 in 10 Millennials in the other three groups.

The Activists are the most racially diverse of the Millennial groups, and they are the only group in which a majority does not identify as non-Hispanic white (46 percent). About 13 percent of Activists are non-Hispanic black, and 29 percent are Hispanic. Activists are nearly twice as likely to be Hispanic as the two younger groups, the Unattached (18 percent) and the Explorers (15 percent).

Percent
White 46%
Black 13%
Hispanic 29%
Other 12%

Data Source: Questions: Are you of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, or not? In addition to being of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, what race or races do you consider yourself to be? (Or if not Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin) What race or races do you consider yourself to be?

Media Insight Project

A higher portion of Activists are men (56 percent) than women (44 percent), which is a similar breakdown to the Explorers, who also tend to seek out news and information.

Motivation and interest in news: The majority of Activists say they use news for a host of civic reasons.

Sixty-seven percent, for instance, say they get news because it helps them be a better a citizen; nearly half (49 percent) say news helps them feel connected to their community.

Seeing a value in news, many Activists are willing to pay for news. Half of Activists (51 percent) personally pay for a subscription to a news outlet, which is more than any other group. An additional 7 percent regularly use a service paid for by someone else.

Among Millennials, this group is the most likely to follow current events. In particular, 6 in 10 follow national politics or government, and many follow less popular topics such as international news (46 percent) or business news (38 percent).

Activists are also more likely than the Distracted to follow news about science and technology (50 percent vs. 33 percent). However, Activists follow news about schools and education (33 percent), social issues (37 percent), and crime and public safety (47 percent) at rates comparable to other Millennials.

Activists All Millennials
National politics or government 60% 43%
Science and technology 50% 43%
Crime and public safety 47% 44%
International news 46% 30%
Business news 38% 29%
Social issues 37% 37%
Schools and education 33% 33%

Data Source: Question: Here are some current events news and information topics. Which of these topics, if any, do you regularly follow?

Media Insight Project

Activists are also among the most likely Millennials to keep up with practical information. For example, 50 percent keep up with information related to their job, 49 percent follow information about their city or neighborhood, and 42 percent do price comparisons or product research.

Activists follow lifestyle topics at relatively similar rates as other Millennials. However, Activists are less likely than the Unattached to follow music, TV, and movies (59 percent vs. 73 percent) and style, beauty, and fashion (20 percent vs. 29 percent).

Online activities and social media: Most of these Millennials get a majority of their news online, but they are less likely than other Millennials to go online for social or entertainment uses.

More than half report getting at least 75 percent of their news and information online (57 percent), and more than 8 in 10 get at least half of their news online (84 percent).

In contrast, this group is the least likely among Millennials to report regularly going online to keep up with what friends are doing (63 percent) and least likely to go online to stream music, TV, or movies (55 percent).

Activists All Millennials
Researching interests or pursuing hobbies 66% 65%
Keeping up with what friends are doing 63% 71%
Stream music, TV, or movies 55% 68%
Playing games 42% 45%

Data Source: Question: Which of the following activities, if any, would you say you do regularly online?

Media Insight Project

Activists also are not likely to use social media for entertainment reasons, and they are among the least likely to go on Facebook to look for interesting articles (38 percent), to share content (33 percent), or to see what is trending (28 percent).

Although many Activists get news online, most do not get news on social media. This group is the least likely to report getting news on Facebook (36 percent compared with 52 percent of Explorers). In addition, fewer than 1 in 10 report getting news from Twitter (9 percent) and Reddit (4 percent). Activists are about as likely as their generational peers to get information from YouTube (19 percent) or Instagram (16 percent).

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