Who are Milennials and what sets them apart from other American generations? Millenials are the generation of Americans that are currently 18 to 33 years old. According to the Pew Research Center, this generation is forging a unique path that sets them apart from older Americans. The Pew survey of Millennials highlights some of those differences:
- Millennials are less attached to traditional political and religious institutions than other generations. This group of young adults is part of the first generation of “digital natives,” that grew up using online and social technologies rather than adapting to them. Consequently this generation is more connected to their social networks and digital media than they are to traditional political and religious institutions. In fact, 29% of them report no affinity to any religion and half describe themselves as political independents.
- As one of the most highly-educated segments of our population, Millennials are also more burdened by financial debt. This group of young adults has more student loan debt, unemployment or underemployment and poverty than the generations ahead of them. Interestingly, though, Millennials report that they’re confident in their financial future and have enough money to live as they hope.
- Only 25% of Millennials are married. This is a sharp reduction compared to previous generations. At this age 36% of GenXers, 48% of Baby Boomers and 69% of the Silent Generation were married. Millennials report their desire to marry (69% of the unmarried) but many report they lack a solid economic foundation to be married.
- The most racially diverse generation in American history probably contributes to their political liberalism. Nearly 43% of Millennial adults are non-white. They’re the children of the large number of Hispanic and Asian immigrants the US has seen in the past 50 years.
- Interestingly, Millennials report lower levels of trust than their older counterparts. Only 19% say that most people can be trusted. In contrast, 31% of GenXers and 40% of Boomers report that most people can be trusted.
- Despite their higher debt load and lower financial security, most Millennials (51%) believe Social Security benefits will not be available when they reach retirement. Only 39% think they’ll get reduced benefits. Interestingly, though, they don’t believe benefit cuts are a way to address funding issues of the Social Security system.