Here's the Survey on Global Citizenship That Zuckerberg Called a Big Deal

Millennials are looking past nation, religion, and race.

A closeup of a blue and white flower
Flickr / Nick Kenrick..

Mark Zuckerberg called for community on a global scale in his 2017 Harvard Commencement speech, and he pointed to a recent report as cause for optimism:

“In a survey asking millennials around the world what defines our identity, the most popular answer wasn’t nationality, religion, or ethnicity: It was ‘citizen of the world.’ That’s a big deal. Every generation expands the circle of people we consider ‘one of us.’ For us, it now encompasses the entire world.”

The report in question? Almost certainly the Global Shapers Annual Survey 2016 from the World Economic Forum. (We’ve asked Facebook to confirm.)

You can see the results Zuckerberg described below, as the plurality of millennials in almost every region of the world chose global citizenship — rather than ethnicity, nationality, etc. — as what defines them most.

The plurality of millennials said they identified most as "global" citizens (the green lines).

Global Shapers Annual Survey 2017

Published in August 2016, the survey included 26,000 people between 18 and 35, from 181 countries.

Admittedly, there are some trends that might be a little discouraging to a globalist. For one, a stunning 50 percent of millennials in East Asia and the Pacific chose nationality as their defining characteristic, which suggests that tensions between China, Japan, et al. might not go away any time soon. For another, the majority (not plurality) of millennials chose something other than “global” as their defining characteristic.

Zuckerberg’s point, nonetheless, is that millennials, more than any generation, are coming to recognize that we’re all in this together. And that, he says, might just save the world:

“We get that our greatest opportunities are now global — we can be the generation that ends poverty, that ends disease. We get that our greatest challenges need global responses too — no country can fight climate change alone or prevent pandemics. Progress now requires coming together not just as cities or nations but also as a global community.”

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