Usually I’m not so pleased to score a 62 on a quiz, but I took The Pew Research Center’s quiz, “How Millennial Are You?” and feel pretty good about this number. Numbers are the lingua franca of the Center, and some of them about this generation are surprising. (The Center uses the following generational dividers: Silent Generation 1928-1945; Baby Boomer 1946-1964; Gen Xer 1965-1980; Millennial 1981 to current. They’re honest to point out that these categories are mostly arbitrary, although they’ve gained some acceptance in our culture.)
One of the most surprising findings from gathering these numbers is that this is the most racially and ethnic diverse generation, and one-fourth of all Millennials are Hispanic. However, they’re not immigrants. They’re part of a 40 year-old immigration wave, and they’re the children of immigrants. The Center points out that by the middle of the century, the U.S. will not be primarily white.
Another surprising finding is that despite a dismal economic climate, and having grown up during two wars, the Millennials are confident about their futures. When asked, “Do you currently have enough money to lead the life you want, or do you think eventually you will have enough money to?” 9 out of 10 say “yes.” This is more optimistic than any other generation. Yet this generation has 37% unemployed or who are not in the work force–the most for this age group since 1972.
The Pew Institute also asks a battery of questions designed to gauge attitudes toward cultural, social, and family values. Millennials are similar to previous generations in ranking life priorities; parenthood, marriage, career success, helping others, and other categories had almost no variance from those who are 30+ years. However, there is a profound change in the behaviors associated with marriage and parenting. Only 21% are currently married–compare this to twice as many of their parents at this same time in their lives! In 2007, approximately 40% of all births were to single mothers. Clearly the linkages between marriage and parenthood are changing.
Strangely, the generation gap exists but isn’t viewed as harshly by the Millennials. When asked the open-ended question, “Do you think your generation is unique and distinctive?” Millennials respond, “yes,” and 24% mention technology as the reason. Technology has helped define this generation: specifically 75% have social networking connections. In essence, they feel different from other generations, but they don’t judge previous generations harshly. When asked about work ethics, moral values, and respect for others, a majority say that the older generation is superior. They also report getting along well with their parents.
Finally, where are you likely to find a Millennial? This one should be easy! IN COLLEGE. The Pew Center cites census data to make the point that this is the generation on track to become the most educated generation of Americans. Numbers and statistics are telling, and they’re often useful when writing, particularly in persuasive messages. What arguments do you think might be made with this information? Do you think they’re accurate? To read and learn more, click here.