Survey: Millennials more likely than their parents to donate to education

Poll finds generation feels personal responsibility to improve the world

American millennials are more likely than their parents to donate, and even more likely to give to educational causes, according to a new Harris Poll, reports Wall Street Journal.

Researchers analyzed responses to a July 2014 online survey of 2,306 adults, then weighted them to reflect U.S. demographics.

The findings show that what people give to—and how much they give—varies by generation.

What makes millennials tick? You might be surprised.

Around 91% of citizens made some sort of donation within the past three years, and millennials (adults aged 18 to 36) are nearly twice as likely as baby boomers (aged 49 to 67) to say nonprofits should direct their efforts toward education.

Additionally, 15% of millennials reported caring and donating the most to educational charities, compared with just 9% of Gen Xers (aged 37 to 48), 8% of baby boomers, and 8% of matures (defined as 68 or older).

Youth and families was the most popular cause for millennials, baby boomers, and Gen Xers to care about and support, while medical research ranked highest for matures.

Additionally, 29% of millennials say they believe people "have personal responsibility to make the world a better place by being involved with various issues and causes." In contrast, just 24% of baby boomers and matures agreed with that statement, and the rate dropped to 22% for Gen Xers.

However, millennials also reported the lowest rates of giving overall, coming in at 86% compared with baby boomers' 92%, Gen Xers' 93%, and matures' 98% (Ruffenach, Wall Street Journal, 1/19).

The takeaway: Millennials are more likely than other generations to donate to educational causes.

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