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Defining Millennials

Defining Millennials

Who are Millennials, really?

Elizabeth Hoyt

April 19, 2013

Who are Millennials, really?

Teenagers, students, twenty-somethings. While a generation is difficult to define and categorize as a whole, that certainly hasn’t stopped the media from trying.

According to Yahoo! News, nine classifications of the Millennial generation have emerged, painting both flattering and unflattering portraits of those born in the 1980’s and 90’s.

The below classifications describe Millennials from various aspects. Do you think that they’re correct in their assumptions? Note: If you’re a student, they’re most likely talking about you.

1. Entrepreneurs

Millennials are great at starting small businesses and branding themselves, perhaps as a result of heroes like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg, in addition to the trend of distrusting large corporations and organizations.

According to the Yahoo! News article, Milliennials view entrepreneurship and small businesses as “the idealized social form of our time.”

2. Lazy Entrepreneurs?

For placing such a high value on small business and entrepreneurship, Milliennials’ participation in such business initiatives is surprisingly lower than expected.

In 2012, only 230 start-ups were created for every 100,000 adults – a six-year low. The numbers are significantly higher for older generations. The article states that, “American entrepreneurs are now 30 percent more common than younger ones.”

3. Consumers

Shopaholics, unite! Millennials are notorious for emptying their pockets when it comes to goods, like technology and other luxury items.

Studies have also shown that the generation values (or as the article stated, is addicted to) instant gratification and has blurred the line between wants and needs. Most millennials view their purchases of new gadgets as needs, whereas elders understand them as wants.

4. Broke

Perhaps partially as a result of their desire to buy goods, Millennials generally have bank accounts that are less than impressive since they are constantly trying to keep up with new consumer goods.

In addition, the student debt rate is higher than ever, causing Millennials to suffer the consequences of being burdened by debt for years to come.

The generation also has a reputation for being financially irresponsible which, some believe, is a cause for concern in terms of society.

5. Socialists

According to the article, 49 percent of the Millennial generation view socialism in a favorable light, compared to 43 percent who view it in an unfavorable light. This has impacted recent generational movements, such as Occupy Wall Street, as well as the dislike for corporations, capitalism and big business.

6. Narcissistic

Many have characterized Millennials as socially conscious and environmentally aware, however, a recent study indicated that Millennials are narcissistic, at least more so than older generations.

In addition, the study found that Millennials place a high emphasis on “money, image and fame” rather than other, more traditional principles like community.

The number one concern for Millennials today is financial stability, which has jump from the number eight concern for college students in 1971.

7. Politically Involved

President Obama must love Millennials – their support absolutely aided both of his presidential victories. Millennials are showing their passion for politics as they continue to vote in increasing numbers.

8. Less Religious

While Millennials understand the value of religion, they’ve separated themselves from their childhood beliefs.

This may be a partial result of their social consciousness – about 64 of Millennials object to modern Christianity because they view and object to the church being “anti-gay.”

A quarter of Millennials who were raised with religious values are not currently affiliated with any religion, which has risen from 11 percent.

9. Stressed

Millennials are considered to be more stressed than prior generations, the biggest sources being finances, work and housing costs.

Additionally, Millennials seek out stress-relieving options more than past generations.

A recent study also found relationships a key source of stress for Millennials, perhaps as a result of Millennials being less likely “to express their feelings in their relationships.”



Do you agree with the findings of the studies mentioned in the article?


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