As the story goes with all preceding generations, millennials are becoming infamous for their choice of lifestyle. Whether you agree with our social behavior or not, look out because we are the up and coming.
The U.S. Census bureau statistics show that in 2015, millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, will surpass the baby-boomers in number. As the first half of the millennials settle into their mid-30s and possible career choices, the second half is encroaching fast to solidify their earlier cohort’s shift in social dynamics.
We are being stigmatized as the most unlucky generation and are seen as undisciplined, indecisive, materialistic, cynical, technology obsessed, entitled individuals who expect a hand-out from the “hard-working” past generations. We would be lying if we said that we don’t possess some of these characteristics. However, when looking at the world we entered into, it’s no wonder why.
What makes us unique is that we are the first generation born into the information and telecommunication revolution, which has established our need to be constantly connected. During our youth, we were exposed to more terrorism, war, famine and sex—right in the comfort of our own homes—than any previous generation. Even though we have been bombarded with recurring negativity, this constant connection has also brought us closer to global issues, understanding the importance of education and realizing that our individual wants are more important than surrendering to societal expectations.
According to an economic facts study done by the White House Council of Economic Advisors in 2014, millennials are “the generation that will shape our economy for decades to come” because we are the most diverse generation since the migration of millions in the late 19th and early 20th century, and we are redefining our identity categories and social norms.
A U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation research review shows that we are far more tolerant of races and groups with 45 percent preferring improvements in treatment of minority positions, and popular opinion is that we are more caring and community oriented. Although we may be more caring, it is not always in a general sense. We are more “interested in extrinsic life goals and less concerned for others and civic engagement,” said Jean Twenge, a psychologist and Gen Y researcher, adding that we are “overly self-confident and self-absorbed.”
Data from the research review shows that we are becoming masters in self-expression, with 75 percent creating social networking profiles, 20 percent posting videos of ourselves online, 38 percent with one to six tattoos and 23 percent with a piercing in some place other than an earlobe. To take a deeper look, we are identifying our passions and determining the most advantageous and desirable path to our future, rather than having others choose it for us.
We are the most educated generation in American history; however, our education has created a hefty debt many of us will carry for years if not decades. Therefore, we are reorganizing the priorities of adulthood by staying at home longer and postponing marriage and having children, which, to some, looks like we are scared and unhappy, but it is just the opposite because it is allowing us to have a more optimistic outlook for our future prospects.
Pew research indicates that millennials “are confident, upbeat and open to change.” We are ready to challenge our opposition and show that we are the generation that will establish a drastic shift in social norms.
So for all the millennial haters out there, stop putting the kabash on our recalculation of the “American Dream” because we are redefining what is considered the norm in America with a huge progressive push.