Millennials are the largest demographic in the United States, with 83.1 million people who were born between 1983 and 2000. That number is larger than Generation X, with a population in 2018 of 65.8 million and Baby Boomers, whose population is beginning to decrease as they grow older. As of 2018 there are 63.9 million Boomers in the United States.
What defines Millennials?
- Close family relationships
Delayed adult milestones
- Disinterest in traditional institutions and historical social patterns
- Focus on health and well-being
- Open-mindedness and acceptance of others
Close Family Relationships
Millennials, in a shift from generations before them, cherish and protect their relationships with their parents and are exceedingly loyal and connected to them. The ease with which they can communicate with their families, thanks to mobile phones, video calls and other electronic forms of communication have allowed millennials, starting when they leave for college and continuing through young adulthood, to easily communicate with their parents. Half of all millennials report that they talk with their parents on a daily basis, while another 25% say they communicate a few times a week. Most of their Boomer parents welcome the connection, but some have concerns that their offspring are too dependent on them for emotional support.
Adding to this phenomenon is the number of millennials who are living with their parents well into their 20's and even their 30's.
- As of 2016, 15% of 25- to 35-year-old millennials were living in their parents’ home
- Despite only 5.1% of older young adults being unemployed, 15% of them are living with their parents
- For those who move back home for financial - or other - reasons in 2016, they stayed with parents an average of 6 months longer than Gen Xers in similar situations did in 2000
Delayed Adult Milestones
In addition to waiting to move into their own homes, millennials are putting off other traditional milestones of adulthood.
The rush to get married has dwindled with the youngest generation.
- Time magazine recently predicted that 25% of millennials will never get married
- Pew Research found that, when they were the age that millennials are now, 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the members of the Silent Generation were married
The average age when women have their first child is now 28, up from 24.6 in 1970.
In 2016, for the first time ever, there were more women in their early 30s having babies than younger moms
New, older moms tend to be more educated
- The median age of a woman when she has her first child is 30 for those with a master’s degree
- 28 for those with a bachelor’s degree
- 25 for those who attended a two-year college or some college
- 24 for those who attended high school or less
- Between 1960 and 2016, the percentage of children living in families with two parents decreased from 88% to 69%
Disinterest in Traditional Institutions and Historical Social Patterns
Millennials are much more accepting and inclusive of nontraditional relationships, families and lifestyles. Gay marriage, single parenthood, interracial marriage, interfaith marriage and other unique and different iterations of love and family are accepted, encouraged and protected by millennials.
- In 2007, Americans opposed legalizing same-sex marriage by a margin of 54% to 37%. In 2017, more favored (62%) than opposed (32%) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally
- A majority (61%) of all same-sex couples who live together are married
- About 39% of Americans who have married since 2010 have a spouse who is in a different religious group, compared with only 19% of those who wed before 1960
- One-in-six newlyweds (17%) were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2015, a steady increase in intermarriage since 1967, when just 3% of newlyweds were intermarried
(All statistics from Pew Research)
Millennials Focus on Health and Well-Being
Millennials are redefining what it means to live a successful life. For many young adults, health and well-being are taking the place of working 24/7, making huge amounts of money and conquering the world. The importance they place on stable relationships with family members and finding lasting personal relationships also play into their desire to live lives that are in balance.
- One interview found that 49% of millennials believe that maintaining a work/life balance is crucial to staying both mentally and physically healthy
- Millennials are staying physically fit through social activities, including exercise classes, running clubs, gym memberships and other organized activities
- Alcohol consumption is still part of the social scene for millennials, but drinking to get drunk is not as popular as it once was
- Cigarette smoking has declined dramatically compared to previous generations with only 16.8% of young adults smoking cigarettes compared to 28.8% in 1988 - CDC
- Millennials use their smart phone apps to stay healthy and track their exercise and food intake
Open-mindedness and Acceptance of Others
Of all of the changes that millennials are bringing to society, perhaps none is more important or will have as much of an impact on the world as their acceptance of all kinds of people, lifestyles, beliefs and pursuits. While attendance at religious services may be decreasing among young adults, it appears that the motto "live and let live" has become a way of life for many millennials. There is no longer a "right" way to live, as our lives grow more global and we interact with people, at the click of a mouse, around the world. Many millennials have embraced the philosophy that everyone has the right to be happy and live on their own terms, allowing for exploration, expression and innovation in both personal and professional pursuits.
The statistics show that there is a definite shift towards multi-cultural communities, interracial relationships, acceptance of LGBTQIA individuals, single motherhood, older motherhood, and, perhaps most interestingly, a strong need to maintain connection to parents and other family members.
Even as millennials seek out their own paths, often moving away from the traditional upbringing they may have had, there is still a connection to family. Millennials are blazing a path towards a new, inclusive, and fascinating society.