The Internet has plenty to say about Millennials, but how much of it is justified? Recent data released by the Pew Research Center gives a quantitative look at the Millennial generation from a social and demographic front.
In a variety of categories, Millennials, who are classified as adults aged 18-33, differ dramatically from older generations. For example, only 26% of Millennials are married, as opposed to 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the Silent Generation when they were the same age. However, nearly 70% of Millennials say that they want to be married in the future, but are holding off until they find greater economic stability.
This generation is also less religious – only 58% of young adults say that they are “absolutely” certain that God exists, a noticeably lower percentage than that of older Americans.
Millennials are the most diverse generation ever, as 43% of Millennials are non-white. This statistic is a result of the heavy Hispanic and Asian immigration in the past 50 years. The diversity of this generation also contributes to its liberal leanings.
How do Millennials view themselves? Only half (49%) of Millennials would describe themselves as “patriotic,” compared to 67% of Gen X, 75% of Boomers and 81% of the Silent Generation. However, this discrepancy is possibly due to age and standing in life, instead of simply an inherent characteristic of this generation.
More than half of young adults (51%) consider themselves supporters of gay rights, as opposed to 37% of Gen X, and around a third of Boomers and Silents.
Millennials are also less likely to describe themselves as environmentalists, with 32% saying that the term describes them very well, compared to over 40% of all three older generations.
Millennials have “higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment” than their parents and grandparents. Only about a third say they earn enough money now, but 53% are optimistic that they will in the future, a much higher percentage than any other generation. However, this number may be symptomatic of a younger age and hence greater confidence in future opportunities.
Interestingly enough, despite the sunny optimism about future economic situations, 51% of this generation say that they do not believe there will be enough Social Security for them come retirement time. A mere 6% believe that there will be the same benefits available to them as there are to current retirees.