The introverted future of America

October 17, 2016, 5:42 PM GMT+0

Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to describe themselves as introverted, and to dislike it when strangers start conversations with them

Lamenting the decline of manners and friendliness is a complaint as old as civilization, but America may in fact be on the path to becoming a more quiet, introverted nation, as younger Americans increasingly see themselves as introverts who dislike talking to strangers.

Research from YouGov shows that younger Americans are more likely to identify themselves as introverts, and less likely to think of themselves as extroverts. Only over-65s are more likely to describe themselves as extroverts (43%) than introverts (30%). Most under-45s, on the other hand, describe themselves as introverts.

Curiously, even though 44% of Americans describe themselves as introverts, only 20% say that they dislike it when strangers start conversations with them. 68% of Americans say that they like it when strangers talk to them. The generational divide on this question is very clear, though. Under-30s are more than five times as likely as over-65s to dislike talking to strangers (33% to 6%), and only a bare majority of under-30s (52%) like it when a stranger strikes up conversation with them.

Nevertheless, few Americans make a habit of starting conversations with strangers themselves. Only 24% say that they start conversations 'all the time' or 'a lot of the time'. 41% do it sometimes, and 31% do it 'rarely' or 'never'.

Full survey results available here.