Cause & Social Influence

What inspires young people to support social issues and participate in movements?

Humans are by nature empathetic, yet not every social injustice inspires action. What are the influences that prompt Young America to move beyond caring about an issue to standing up for change? And what then influences them to join social movements?


In light of the rapidity with which information and opinions can flow and incite both positive and negative action on a grand scale, we must develop a deeper understanding of the remarkable power we have to influence each other.

It’s just as imperative that we learn to recognize the techniques used by successful influencers so we can make informed decisions about how to react.

Finally, by learning how to effectively influence others, we can make real strides toward improving the world around us.

This exploration is part of a larger initiative, Cause and Social Influence. Research explores how Americans in their formative years are influenced to care about movements and social issues and to act on them. It begins with Influencing Young America to Act, a study of how Americans ages 18-30 are influenced by and influence others to act on social issues and major movements.

Key Findings

1. Climate Change tops list of social issues of most concern in 2019.

2. Young Americans trust nonprofits and social movements the most.

3. Gender influences social issues of interest.

4. The most successful journey from awareness to action is personal.

5. Voting is a form of social activism and an action that will lead to desired changes.

6. The country is off track.

7. “Fake news” exists and will influence the 2020 presidential election.

Find the full report here.