Sandy Hook Shooting Among Top 10 Impactful Historic Events for Millennials

Among American millennials, the 2012 shooting of students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown is one of the 10 events during their lifetime with the greatest impact on the country. That’s according to a new survey conducted by Pew Research Center in association with A+E Networks’ HISTORY. For Millennials, the 9/11 terror attacks and the Obama election leads the list – and by a greater margin than for other generations.

The top 10 list for these young Americans also varies from the rankings of other generations. For example, the Columbine school shooting makes the top 10 list of Millennials and Gen Xers but not Boomers or the Silent Generation.

Millennials also are unique in that five of their top 10 events – the Sandy Hook and Orlando/Pulse nightclub shootings, the death of Osama bin Laden, the Boston Marathon bombing and the Great Recession – appear in no other generation’s top 10 list.

The perceived historic importance of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, span virtually every traditional demographic divide, the survey found.

The top 12 among millennials were: Sept.11; Obama election; Iraq/Afghanistan wars; Gay marriage; the tech revolution; Orlando shooting; Hurricane Katrina; Columbine shooting; Bin Laden; Sandy Hook; Boston Marathon bombing; Great Recession.

When participants of all ages were asked to identify a time or event during their lifetime when “you felt most disappointed in America,” among the events mentioned most often were the school shootings at Sandy Hook and Columbine.

To measure how Americans view the importance of recent historic events, Pew Research Center conducted a national, probability-based survey with a representative sample of adults who are members of the GfK KnowledgePanel, a national, probability-based online panel. Pew Research Center received supplemental funding from HISTORY to conduct this survey.

Survey participants were asked to list the 10 historic events that occurred during their lifetimes that they thought “have had the greatest impact on the country.” Respondents were further told that they could name a specific event, a series of related events or any other historic development that had a major influence on American life.

Leading the list among Generation X were Sept. 11; Obama election; Fall of Berlin Wall/End of Cold War; The tech revolution; Iraq/Afghanistan wars; Gulf War; Challenger disaster; Gay marriage; Hurricane Katrina; Columbine shooting; Orlando shooting; Oklahoma City bombing.

For baby boomers, the top historic events were Sept. 11; JFK assassination; Vietnam War; Obama election; Moon landing; the tech revolution; Civil rights movement; Fall of Berlin Wall/end of Cold War; MLK assassination; Iraq/Afghanistan wars.

Millennials are those young adults born between 1981 and 1998.  Generation X were born 1965 to 1980; the Baby Boom generation were born between 1946 and 1964.