Oregon’s Millennials At A Crossroads

by | Apr 1, 2014 | Insights, Reports

There is no shortage of research claiming to have unlocked the secret to understanding the millennial generation.

Over the last six months, our team (in close collaboration with DHM Research) has been digging through volumes of information about today’s 90 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. Throughout our discovery process, we examined national and regional data, news articles, white papers, academic arguments, and opinion pieces.

One thing is clear: everyone seems to be searching for the next study that will offer the missing answer on how this generation will impact our society – for better and for worse.

From this complex library of millennial research our own strategic assessment began. After months of data analysis and conducting some focus groups here in Oregon, we feel that we can offer the region’s decision-makers with a more nuanced, adaptive, meaningful, and localized view on our millennial population.

Today, we are publishing our first Insights report. This study “Are Millennials Reshaping Politics in the Pacific Northwest?” explores the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs of Oregon’s millennials.

This project was launched with the intent of providing today’s decision-makers with a better perspective on the intergenerational transitions occurring in Oregon. Our analysis aims to dissect how the post-recessionary market conditions and millennial behaviors are influencing our political systems, economic development, policy, and the social issues agenda in our state.

Our team relied on a combination of our own research, third-party analyses, and new data from the 2013 Oregon Values & Beliefs Survey (OVB) conducted by DHM.

Among the questions and issues we have explored in this report:

  • How has the Great Recession affected our perceptions of the millennial generation – and how has it shaped millennial attitudes towards political platforms and the role of government?
  • What issues do millennials care about at the ballot box – and how is this different than what motivates baby boomers?
  • Are millennials truly a generation of community-minded change agents? Or are they being forced to adapt to economic and social circumstances due to high unemployment?
  • What tools will this emerging generation of leaders use to influence change and drive the future of politics?

We also invite you to watch a short video presentation on the topics explored in this report. Last December, Quinn Thomas was selected to preview some of the findings outlined in this study at the SPARKS 2013 conference at the University of Washington.


We hope you’ll read our unique insights while thinking about the broader complexities of the challenges ahead.

No question, we can’t offer that silver bullet or the final word on where millennials will move us. What we can do is help redirect the debates of the past towards more thoughtful, constructive conversations about the future.

Read on.


The Oregonian: “Are millennials complacent and unfocused, or civic-minded and entrepreneurial?” – April 2, 2014

Oregon Public Broadcasting, “Think Out Loud: Profiling Millennials” – April 4, 2014

Tim Nesbitt: Will millennials create a better world? – April, 4, 2014