Generation Needs Encouragement: Study Says Many Millennials Struggle With Life Purpose, 40% ‘Don’t Know, Believe, Or Care If God Exists’

“Millennials in America: New Insight into the Generation of Growing Influence”, a significant and eye-opening research project led by Dr. George Barna exploring the Millennial generation, was released today by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. The project, a collaboration between the CRC and the non-profit Foundations of Freedom, includes unprecedented research into the lifestyles, relationships, worldviews, politics, faiths and mental health of America’s most populous and influential generation.


  • 29% of younger Millennials (ages 18-25) are counted as having some type of mental disorder. Overall, 54% of those surveyed acknowledged some degree of emotional fragility or even mental illness.
  • 24 out of every 25 Millennials ( 96%) lack a biblical worldview.
  • 75% say they lack meaning and purpose in life.


  • Are the most populous generation in American society
  • Currently constitute close to four out of every 10 working-age Americans
  • Comprise the primary parenting-age segment in the United States

Among the report’s other findings: A record-breaking 40% fit the “Don’ts” category, meaning they don’t know, believe, or care if God exists.

“So much research has been done on this generation, but there are still areas of the mind, heart and soul of Millennials that have not been studied. That’s where this project comes into the picture,” said Barna, the Director of Research at the Cultural Research Center and bestselling author of over 50 books on faith and culture in the U.S. “We wanted to better understand different elements of the Millennial experience such as their hopes for the future, emotional and mental health and relationships.”

But, Barna says, the 100+ page report reflects a shared interest in going well beyond the mere collection and reporting of information. The objective of offering this information to the public, he says, is to achieve three primary outcomes— education, motivation and activation.

“We set out to not only provide an accurate, current and broader understanding of Millennials and their life context, but to provoke readers to reconsider who Millennials are, what they need, and to identify ways in which all of us, as Americans, can be supportive,” he said. “And beyond that, we hope to stimulate a real commitment to interact more knowledgeably, honestly and effectively with Millennials. Research that does not lead to corrective action is just an exercise in gathering information for its own sake. Who has time for that?”

As a whole, Barna said, the circumstances under which the generation has grown up—and faces going forward—are unlike any that have come before.

“No prior generation has grown up with the breadth and pervasiveness of digital technology. And while prior generations have all experienced an array of serious personal threats to their well-being – including the likes of war, terrorism, droughts, racial discrimination, economic chaos, and political turbulence – perhaps no generation has ever emerged under as constant and wide-ranging a cloud of threats as have the Millennials.”

It’s for that reason that Barna says the data must be used to better understand, connect and lead going forward.


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