How To Tell If You’re A Millennial

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Millennial-bashing has become something of a spectator sport, but, in fact, millennials have become a major driving force in shaping the culture, economy, and direction of the country, according to a White House Council of Economic Advisers report released recently.
The truth is, collectively, millennials have a powerful voice. And, while we’ve got a lot of great things going for us — from access to affordable health insurance to close ties with family and friends — we’ve also got a lot of challenges, such as student loan debt and a still-uncertain economy. Read on for some surprising facts about millennials — and harness your power to challenge those naysayers.
Photographed by Sara Kerens.

1. We’re Huge
Millennials are the biggest generation in the United States at the moment, representing one third of the population.

2. We’re Diverse
Almost 15% of millennials were born in a foreign country, and 42% of the generation identifies as non-white.

3. We Care About Friends And Family
Say what you will about millennials always having their eyes on a screen — when it comes to facts, the truth is that millennials value IRL connections. Half of millennials think it’s very important to live close to their friends and family, compared with 40% of Gen X'ers and 29% of baby boomers who share the same sentiment.

4. We’re Financially Savvy
Millennial women, especially, know that understanding and earning their value at work is essential. The younger the millennial, the more they list earnings as a key to job satisfaction.

5. Education Is Important
Millennials are the generation that has the largest number of college and grad school graduates. And, here, diversity also plays a role: Enrollment for low-income and diverse students has expanded.

6. But, The Majors Are Surprising
With so much talk about STEM-type fields, you would think these majors would be booming, but enrollment has actually declined in these fields among millennials. What’s hot? Social science fields like criminal justice.

7. Student Loans Are A Big Problem
Roughly half the student population had to borrow money for school in 2010, compared with 30% in the mid-'90s.

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.

8. We Have Healthcare Options — And We Use Them
The combination of the Affordable Care Act, and the ability of young people to remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26, means nearly 80% of millennials have health coverage.


9. The Recession Took (And Is Still Taking) A Toll
The workforce is slowly recovering, but the fact that many millennials entered a dismal job market has longterm economic impact: Workers starting a new career during a recession earn 2.5 to 9% less than workers who begin their careers during an economic high.

10. We Tend To Stay At A Job
Millennials are actually pretty loyal to their employers: We are more likely than Gen X’ers to stick it out at a gig for more than three years. While part of that may be due to a still-sluggish economy (it’s hard to find a new job when there aren’t that many to choose from), it’s also due to the fact that employers know millennials are looking for work-life balances, and they have created enticements, such as flexible schedules, to allow them to stay.

11. We May Wait On Marriage, But We Do Want It
In 2013, 30% of 20 to 34-year-olds were married, compared to 77% in 1960. But, millennials also want to get married. When asked as high school seniors how they saw their future life, over 80% saw a life including marriage, a higher percentage than when the question was posed to baby boomers and Gen X’ers. The report suggests millennials tend to want to wait to get married until they have their career path on lock.

12. Kids Are Complicated
Only 45% of millennials have access to paid leave, which makes it tough to plan for when to take time off to have a child. This, coupled with a shaky job market that’s made it hard for people to sock away savings, and putting off marriage until a career is on track, all contribute to why the median age of college-educated millennials having their first child hovers at around 28.

13. Millennials Are Less Likely To Be Homeowners
Partially because millennials are more comfortable than other generations living with their families, partially because of the recession, and partially because of major hurdles in getting a mortgage, millennials are less likely to own houses than members of previous generations.

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