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Millennials – Demographics and Characteristics

Millennials are the generation between the GenX-ers and the Xennials. They were born between 1982 and 2002 and are the last generation to span pre-technology and the present.

Millennials - Demographics and Characteristics

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Millennials are called a myriad of names from Generation Y to Generation Me, they are the generation taking on the work world and beginning to “adult”.  

As the children of the Boomers, they are the second largest generation, with 71 Million members compared to the 74 Million of Baby Boomers. That said, the Boomers are reaching the age where they are beginning to pass away so the number will flip at some point. source Wikipedia

Whether you think they are a generation of self-entitled narcissists or open-minded do-gooders, they really fall somewhere in between.  My big girl is a Millennial so I have a better impression than most Gen Xers do about them!

Related Article :: Boomer Parents, Millenial Kids and Gen X Parents, Gen Z Kids

Gender Roles and Marriage

Millennial couple sitting on couch

Millennials tend to be a generation of contradictions. The more liberal ideals of gender roles that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers fought so hard to buck, are seeing a steady reversal in Millennials.  

A 2017 study by the Council on Contemporary Families found that high school seniors increasingly believe that the man should be the bread-winner in a relationship and a woman should care for the home.  

They also have learned from the excesses of their predecessor generations and more are “keeping it in their pants” so to speak.  

This generation is also getting married and starting families later than previous ones.  Higher education helped to push that number higher, since most don’t graduate college until 22 and any graduate degrees until 25 or older.  

Then the time to establish their careers, along with hesitancy due to the economic concerns above, the average age for marriage has been pushed from 20-22 in the 1950’s to 27-29 now.  That doesn’t mean they don’t want to get married or start families, a majority do, they are just postponing it.

College and Debt

That educational attainment?  The biggest gain in post-secondary education has been for women and minorities.  What’s even more positive is that there has been a notable decline in high school dropout rates.  Obviously, being educated is important to this generation.

More of them are college educated, but also carry staggering student debt, having graduated during the end of the 2008 recession. “Not surprisingly, the largest increase in total borrowed was from the 2007-2008 graduates to the 2011-2012 graduates, during the height of the Great Recession.” source A Look At Millennial Student Debt, Forbes

While it easy for Gen Xers like me to say we had college debt too, the cost of college, housing and most other expenses has increased greatly compared to what we were faced with as young adults.


Millennials tend to be a more tolerant generation as well, especially with race.  This is because minorities make up 44% of this generation, making them the most diverse so far.  source Brookings Report

In fact, while the majority in America is still Caucasian, the percentages are dwindling.  

Generations preceding Millennials were 68.4% white as of 2015, but the next generation after Gen Y were only 51.5% in that same year.

Millennials at festival

Money and Housing

They also were observant of how the Great Recession affected their parents and have been hesitant to purchase homes, partially due to the debt incurred for their educations, but also because of higher interest rates and low savings.

High home prices coupled with debt and the inability to save for down payments has helped push Millennials out of the home buying market and into rentals.

A 2016 GenForward Survey of millennials of different racial-ethnic groups found that blacks and Hispanics, in particular, consistently report more economic vulnerability than whites or Asians, and the loss of wealth resulting from the foreclosure crisis between 2007 and 2009 affected black and Hispanic families more than others, which made them much less able to support their own families.


Oh and that growing up with tech?  Well, here are some interesting facts about Millennials and tech.  

66% percent of adults live in a house without a landline, and just use cell phones.  And that same percentage use their smartphones to make purchases, not just update their Instagram or Snapchat with their friends.  

93% own smartphones and 86% use social media (84% use Facebook).  53% say they own tablets and 78% have broadband internet service at home.  Nearly 100%) say they use the internet, and this generation think that the internet has had a positive impact on society.

Yes, they were the generation that got trophies for just showing up that can and have lead to unrealistic expectations in “adulting” as they like to say, they are also more engaged in their community and politics and the rights of the disenfranchised. Having grown up with a lot of technology, they are really good at using it to make a difference.

Millenniums exercising

Millennials – Demographics and Characteristics Wrapup

I personally feel that the Millennials get a bad rap! Yes, they did grow up cherished and coddled by their Boomer parents, but all in all they are great young adults now who came up when things were a lot harder financially than what we experienced.

Additional Resources About Millennials