News Release - 2014 Social Change Impact Report

Walden University Survey Reveals Younger Adults Are Believed To Be More Passionate About Positive Social Change

Insights also indicate that older adults are seen as being able to make more of a difference than younger adults

Minneapolis—November 19, 2014—A young person’s passion can be powerful when it comes to positive social change, but knowledge and experience from older adults are necessary to transform it into action. According to Walden University’s 2014 Social Change Impact Report, a majority of adults (66%, on average) believe that younger adults are more passionate about positive social change than older adults, and 61%, on average, agree that young adults today are more involved in positive social change than they were 20 years ago.

However, 57%, on average, agree that when it comes to positive social change, older adults can make more of a difference than younger adults. Paradoxically, adults in the countries surveyed with the youngest populations most likely agree: Brazil (62%), China (73%), India (71%), Jordan (52%) and Mexico (67%).

Commissioned by Walden and conducted online by Harris Poll June 1–17, 2014, the fourth annual survey about the state of social change around the world includes the perspectives of more than 9,000 adults in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Jordan, Mexico and the United States. This year’s report builds on the findings from the 2011–2013 reports and was designed to examine people’s perceptions of the impact of their engagement in positive social change.

Although six in 10 adults believe that older adults can have a greater impact on social change than younger adults, nearly as many believe that older adults are more resistant to innovation. Half of adults (53%, on average) agree that older adults are not willing to try new ideas to make a difference in positive social change. Nevertheless, nearly nine in 10 adults (86%, on average) agree that in order for positive social change to happen, it is necessary for older adults to share their knowledge and experience about social change with younger adults.

“Regardless of age, everyone can play an important role in the future of positive social change. At Walden University, we believe knowledge is most valuable when put to use for the greater good, and we prepare the next generations of change agents with the skills and knowledge needed to make a difference in their communities and around the world,” said Dr. Cynthia Baum, president of Walden University. “Social change is important and continuous, especially if everyone does their part to create an enduring impact.”

In Brazil, China, Germany and the U.S., young millennials (18- to 24-year-olds) are more likely than older adults (over 40 years old) to agree that younger adults are more passionate about positive social change than older adults.

  • Brazil (18–24): 77% vs. (over 40): 61%
  • China (18–24): 73% vs. (over 40): 60%
  • Germany (18–24): 58% vs. (over 40): 42%
  • U.S. (18–24): 63% vs. (over 40): 48%

In Brazil, China, Germany and the U.S., millennials are more likely than older adults (over 40 years old) to agree that older adults are not willing to try new ideas to make a difference in positive social change.

  • Brazil (18–24): 56% vs. (over 40): 40%
  • China (18–24): 70% vs. (over 40): 58%
  • Germany (18–24): 54% vs. (over 40): 38%
  • U.S. (18–24): 53% vs. (over 40): 44%

In addition to shedding light on the roles of both younger and older generations in effecting positive social change, the 2014 Social Change Impact Report also gives insight into people’s perceptions of the impact of their engagement. For more detailed findings, visit www.WaldenU.edu/impactreport.

Since its founding in 1970, Walden has believed that knowledge is most valuable when put to use for the greater good and that educational institutions have an important role to play in supporting positive social change. As a result of these guiding principles, Walden has attracted a community of students and scholars who are actively engaged in all facets of positive social change—whether it’s through their profession, research aimed at making a difference in their fields or ongoing volunteerism. This report is one of the many ways that Walden is leading the conversation and contributing to positive social change worldwide. Visit www.WaldenU.edu/socialchange to learn more.

About the Study
Walden University first commissioned this annual survey in 2011 to discover the current state of social change around the world. Designed to provide a barometer of who is engaged in social change, what is important to them and how they work together to advance social change issues of interest now and in the future, Walden’s Social Change Impact Report includes attitudes, behaviors and motivations from members of the international community.

The 2014 Social Change Impact Report survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Walden University between June 1 and 17, 2014, among a total of 9,138 adults within Brazil (1,009 adults ages 18–64), Canada (1,003 adults ages 18–64), China (1,021 adults ages 18–64), Germany (1,000 adults ages 18–64), India (1,021 adults ages 18–64), Jordan (1,027 adults ages 18 and older), Mexico (1,020 adults ages 18–64), and the U.S. (2,037 adults ages 18 and older). Data for each country were weighted to the general or online population within each country. The “Average Result” is the arithmetic average across the countries. This measure does not account for differences in population size and thus is not representative. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A complete survey methodology is available upon request by contacting Jen Raider at 1-443-627-7452 or jen.raider@waldenu.edu.

About Walden University
For more than 40 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 50,000 students from all 50 states and more than 150 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world. Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 80 campus-based and online universities in 29 countries.

Walden offers more than 80 degree programs with more than 370 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, social work, education, public health, nursing, public administration and information technology. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.hlcommission.org.