Some say Gen Y, or Millennials, are a lazy, over-parented, indulged cohort. Being the mother of two Millennials, both parents, home-owners and extremely responsible young men, I tended to strongly disagree. Are you sensing a “but” here?
I wanted to see if this is true statistically. So I embarked on a study of current census data, and to my surprise and delight, the United States Census had already done this for me! What I found is that there is striking statistical support for some of these beliefs.
Below is a summary table of some of the information collected and collated by the government. What is most illuminating is that almost one third of this cohort lives with their parents, while only one quarter did a quarter century ago. A huge number live in poverty, more than 13.5 million, while only 9.5 million lived under the same conditions in 1990. This is not good news!
In 1990, 15% spoke a language other than English at home. Now about one in four are brought up in a household in which English may not be spoken at home. What we all know is true, these young people are 43% “minority,” whereas only 27% were in the “minority” in 1990. This is a positive in our country, since we are all “minorities,” and we are all immigrants, but classifications have changed since we emigrated from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and other continents.
One great finding is that 22% have earned a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, while only 17% had this level of advanced education in 1990. And remember, many of these people are on their way to earning a Bachelor’s degree because they are still in college.
Analyzing these data in graphic form illuminates these findings.
1. Median earnings are waaaay down in the past quarter century!
2. This population segment is highly diverse.
3. Asian Americans show about 60% of this cohort in college, while Blacks and Hispanics show increases in student enrollment, making up 30% of each of their population bases in this age range.
4. We need more Millennials in the STEM fields!
5. Student debt is a big problem for our college students.
6. About half of college students are working, a bit less than in 1990 when that total was about 60%.
7. Women are out-pacing men in Bachelor’s Degrees conferred and with some Graduate School. It has been this way since 1994!
8. As always, with this generation, the higher the level of education, the higher the average household income.
9. And for older Millennials, long unemployment as a percentage of total unemployment is higher than ever, up from 15% in 1977 to over 40% in 2014.
10. Millennials are marrying older.
11. Educated Millennials are having kids later.
12. And almost a third still live with parents.
My conclusions from these data is that Millennial issues stem more from the Great Recession, and the fact that they are dogged by student debt rather than their lack of ambition. They entered the workforce at a terrible economic point in our history. As REAL wages increase, and the economy improves, they will quickly be absorbed into the grown-up population.
Tell me what you think. I always love hearing from our readers!