Family Research Council

Millennials: Hard to Pin Down, Yet Ripe for Conversion

By Jonathan Monroe

As Millennials become more prominent in the workforce, companies are spending small fortunes researching their interests, from specific jobs to new products. The results of this research provide conflicting answers that typically are reducible to one conclusion: We don’t know.

Social science studies, however, have achieved more conclusive results regarding Millennials’ views on family, marriage, and religion. Tragically, these studies reveal that the Millennial generation is drifting away from traditional family values towards acceptance of all views as equally intrinsically valuable. Even so, the strong sense of justice that most Millennials possess provides a glimmer of hope.

Who are the Millennials?

The children of Generation X, Millennials are most commonly defined as the generation born between the 1980s and the early 2000s and presently are the largest living generation in the United States. They characterize themselves as unique due to the extent of their technology usage, their music/pop culture, and their fashion choices, but they also cite moves towards liberalism and tolerance, feeling that they are smarter than previous generations.[1] By contrast, although past generations felt they were uniquely “smarter” than preceding generations, most cited a work ethic and morals as being defining factors of their generation; these factors are absent in the Millennial generation’s definition of itself.[2]

The racial composition of the Millennial generation is primarily white, but has greater numbers of Hispanics and African-Americans than previous generations.[3] In fact, Millennials are described as being the most racially-diverse generation in the history of the United States.

Millennials are also the most highly-educated of all previous generations. Twenty-one percent of all men and 27 percent of all women are completing at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to past generations, of which less than 20 percent completed a bachelor’s degree.[4] Studies show that 63 percent of all Millennials plan to graduate from college or already have graduated from college.[5] Many Millennials today are also full-time or part-time students. In fact, 19 percent of all Millennials are full or part-time students compared to only 2 percent of those over 35.[6]

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[i] Pew Research Center, Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next: Confident. Connected. Open to Change, February 2010, 6.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Experian Marketing Services, Millennials come of age, June 2014, 3.

[iv] “How Millennials today compare with their grandparents 50 years ago,” Pew Research Center, March 19, 2015, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/03/19/how-millennials-compare-with-their-grandparents/.

[v] Pew Research Center, Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next: Confident. Connected. Open to Change, February 2010, 40.

[vi] Experian Marketing Services, Millennials come of age, June 2014, 4.