Features -By Mary Chickos, Staff Writer
Left: Demographics of Millennial – Photo by Google, The Current © 2015
For the last decade at least, every millennial has been hearing their generation being either unendurably derided or gleefully praised by those members of the older generations while having their communal characteristics described to them. Well, on April 21 in the Office of Multicultural Student Services, Counselor Tyson Holder outlined a generational timeline depicting some general characteristics of several generations of people. His timeline outlined the Greatest Generation, born before 1942; the Baby Boomers, born from 1943-1960; Generation X, born between 1961 and 1981; and Millennials or Generation Y, born between 1982 and 2005. Holder was sure to start by pointing out the most popular of signifiers for the last generation, describing Millennials as the “Net Generation” or the generation of digital natives who are diverse and impatient. Expecting service 24/7, they have a sense of urgency and their views often are influenced by social media.
Millennials will comprise more than one-third of adult Americans by 2020 and 75% of the workforce by 2025. They have personal characteristics including realism, confidence, fun-loving, and very sociable personalities and are often from merged families. Education is an incredible expense for them and they will be paying down that debt for years. They use the internet and social media on a daily basis, live on their phones, and earn to spend. This is in contrast to Generation X that is often skeptical, loves to have fun, informal, often were latch key kids in a home where both parents worked, cautious, conservative, and consider education a way to get to a better position in life. They like to save, save, save.
Baby Boomers, many of whom are advancing to retirement age, share a sense of optimism, involvement, and are part of a family that has disintegrated. Education was their birthright and they have advanced to the touch tone phone. Their spending habits include buy now and pay later.
Millennials will face some major issues in their lifetimes. This includes inequality of economic origin as well as ideological and cultural inequality. They will have environmental concerns to deal with, including a rising global population and global warming. Technological advances will bring about issues related to genetic mapping, internet, cell phone, and texting privacy as well as updates to constantly changing technology. Budgeting will be a major issue due to overwhelming student loan debt. Increased security will be present due to terrorism and other world threats. Marijuana could be legalized and there will be concerns of health and well-being. However, future generations will be more open-minded and have multiple careers or job changes during a lifetime.
Significant events for Millennials include the availability of heart transplants and heart bypasses, 9/11, the Iraq war on terrorism, Oklahoma city bombing, nuclear weapons treaties, economic recessions, the internet and social media, 24 hour journalism, Nintendo and other video games, cloning, satellite access, and fertility drugs.
Millennial attitudes will include safety first, optimism, idealism about the future, empowerment, and a cautious confidence about the future. Millennials appreciate diversity, are team players, respect authority, and follow rules. They tend to be spiritual urban dwellers who have a long life expectancy. They will have to deal with overpopulation and depletion of social security by previous generations. They will be financially challenged and experience cyberbullying and many computer viruses. However, they have the promise of new technology and shared information, eagerness for change, lack of patience for bureaucracy, and a passion for community and social service. “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world,” (Gandhi).