A New Generation, What We Know About Millennials

Here is what we know about the largest generation as they become adults.

Portraits of young adults
Getty Images/Izabela Habur

A milestone has just passed as Millennials eclipse their Baby Boomer parents as the largest living generation.  In 2015 there were over 75 millions millennials, defined roughly as those born between 1980 and 2000, Every generation brings with it new thinking and new lifestyle choices and millennials are no different.  

The pattern that emerges with Millennials is one of close family relationships, delayed adult milestones, high levels of qualification and disinterest in long standing institutions.

Despite a greater level of dependence on the part of Millennials and the hand wringing that appears in the press about their failure to launch into adulthood quickly enough, Boomer parents cite their relationships with their children as their greatest source of joy.

Here is what we know about Millennials:

Millennials are far less attached to long-standing religious and political institutions. A growing number of young adults are identifying politically as independent and religiously as unaffiliated. Fully half of millennials say that they belong to neither political party, while 29% do not membership in any major religion. 

Millennials are marrying in fewer numbers and later in their lives.  

The rush to get married has dwindled with the youngest generation.  Time magazine recently predicted that 25% of millennials will never get married and 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.”

Millennials, particularly younger ones, live with their parents in record numbers.

A combination of events, including the Great Recession, soaring house prices and high levels of student loan debt, have sent millennials back to their childhood homes. Younger millennials, under the age of 24, are far more likely to be living with their parents, but in total 29% of young adults live with their parents.

   

Millennials are the most diverse generation.

43%  of millennials are non-white while the comparable number for Boomers was 28%.   Immigration over the past half century has added to the ethnic and racial diversity of the young people in the US and this trend is set to continue.

Millennials are the most educated generation.

One of the outgrowths of the Great Recession is that Millennials stayed in school to avoid an inhospitable job market.  They now posses college degrees at a greater rate than any previous generation.

Millennial stay in very close contact with their parents.

One of the reasons millennials can live with their parents in such large numbers is that they get along so well with them.  Pew Research found that, ‘Looking back at their teenage years, Millennials report having had fewer spats with mom or dad than older adults say they had with their own parents when they were growing up.”  Millennial stay in close contact with their parents.  A Clark University poll showed that over half of fathers and two-thirds of mothers are in contact with their young adult kids almost every day.  Millennials regularly seek their parents advice on major life choices.  The poll also found that although parents and their young adults are happy with the frequent level of communication althought parents would overwhelmingly prefer to use the phone while offspring prefer the phone and texting in almost equal numbers.

Marrying later and staying in closer contact with family has kept Millennials emotionally close to their parents.   

Whether they are living with their parents, or just staying in close contact, millennials maintain a tight emotional connection to their parents into adulthood.  In part because they are still unmarried in large numbers, 80% of parents of young adults say that their grown kids depend on them emotionally at times.  But far from this being a problem, parents of these millennials say that their relationship is better than it was when their kids were teens and that, “...parents enjoy their relationship with their grown kids more than anything else in their lives—more than hobbies or leisure activities, watching television, travel or holidays, and even their relationship with their spouse o