Survey: Millennials Are Innovative and Itching to Fix Stuff

Most young people in the world own a smartphone and want to use it for good.

ByABC News
June 3, 2013, 4:16 PM

June 4, 2013— -- Millennials dig tech and education, they hate climate change, and they generally think life is pretty sweet. That's according to a new Telefónica-Financial Times Global Millennial Survey of young people around the world.

The poll, which tracked the opinions of 12,000 members of Generation Y in more than two dozen countries, paints a portrait of young people as wedded to their texts and emails -- but also highly engaged with the problems of modern life. Check out these six key insights on millennials from the survey's results:

1. Technology Might Be Creating a New Gender Gap: While 80 percent of the men surveyed consider themselves to be "on the cutting-edge" of technology, just 69 percent of women say the same thing. Interestingly, the biggest gender gap is in North America. Men are also more likely to say that technology has shaped their outlook on life and is a key to future success. Women, by contrast, are more likely to name family, school and friends as their biggest influences.

2. Latin American Millennials Are Optimistic: Fewer than half of young people in North American think their country's best days are ahead, while nearly 80 percent of Latin American millennials feel their nation is on the rise. In Chile, 9 out of 10 millennials think the country's best days are ahead -- more than all other nations except China and Saudi Arabia.

3. Young People Believe in the Power of Education: When asked how best to make a difference in the world, millennials rank education first, seeking improvements in its quality and making it more accessible to more people. Protecting the environment comes in a close second, followed by eliminating poverty, providing basic food and shelter to people, and promoting sustainable energy. Latin America is the only region where more than half of the young people surveyed think education is the best way to make a difference. Latin Americans and Asians also cited the study of technology as the best way to ensure their personal success in the future.

4. Latin Americans Think They Can Make a Difference: Millennials in this region are the likeliest to think they can make a global difference. While North American and Latin American young people are equally confident -- 82 percent of those surveyed -- that they can make a local difference, just 51 percent of North American millennials feel they can make a global impact. That number is 62 percent for Latin American young people. That feeling is especially prevalent in Colombia and Peru. Saudi Arabia, Chile and Venezuela round out the top five optimist clubs.

5. China Will Drive the Global Economy: Young people no longer think the United States is the main driver of the global economy. That title now sits with China. Nearly 60 percent of the millennials surveyed think China will be the biggest driver of the global economy in the next decade. Just under a third say the same thing about the United States.