Values and Solidarity of Young Finnish Millennials and Generation X

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It has been claimed that, in many countries and societies, there has been a generational change in youth values towards postmodern values that indicate postmaterialism. This paper tests that proposition by comparing youth values and solidarity attitudes in the Nordic welfare state of Finland among Generation X (born in the 1960s and 1970s) and Millennials (born in the 1980s and 1990s). The data were gathered from young people in 1992, 1995, 2011, and 2015 by same attitude scales relating to solidarity, environmental issues, gender, work, science and technology, immigration, economic well-being, and politics. Factor analysis was used to identify the value structures of young people. Common to the value structures of both generations were humanism, traditionalism, individualism, and globalism. The findings indicate a decline in postmaterialist values during the periods of economic recession, which affected solidarity attitudes. It was easier, for example, to show solidarity towards people of one’s own country than to people of foreign countries. Generation X youth presented a more socio-democratic type of solidarity towards citizens, while Millennials showed liberal solidarity towards the poor. Young females of both generations were more likely to support postmaterialistic values, such as gender equality, tolerance of different ethnic groups, globalization, and environmentalism. By contrast, young males had more materialist values and greater faith in science and technology. Positive attitudes towards the future were found among young Millennials, which could support the broad identity horizon. Young people of Millennials showed greater variety in their value structures than the young people of Generation X. They revealed neoliberal attitudes in their value structures, which came closer to the ideology of economic liberalization. Nationalist values were also found among the young people of Millennials. The research findings and implication will be critically discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-413
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • youth
  • solidarity
  • attitudes and values
  • Generation X
  • millennials

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