Over the years, I have heard countless arguments that the Millennial Generation, or Generation Y, is lazy and conceited. Every generation has its defining characteristics; however, these are not the correct ones for the Millennials. Just one look into research done on the Millennials shows that this generation, born roughly from 1980 to the early 2000s, is anything but lazy and conceited.
According to an article from HowStuffWorks, Millennials are highly educated, self-confident, ambitious, and much more technologically savvy than previous generations. It is a generation of more accepting, more ethnically diverse and less religious people. Although Millennials are generally seen by older generations as entitled and narcissistic, the self-confidence found in many members of the generation is likely a product of “helicopter” parents who greatly enforced the importance of good self-esteem.
Pew Research Center also led a study on the Millennial Generation, who now range in age from 18 to 34. The study found that this generation is relatively unattached to organized religion and politics, burdened by debt and in no rush to marry but also incredibly optimistic about the future. This study said that 38 percent of Millennials claim to be political independents and 25 percent say they are not affiliated with any particular religion. This generation is also the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment as well as lower levels of wealth and personal income compared to its two immediate predecessor generations, Generation X and the Baby Boomers, at the same stage of their life cycles. Nearly a third of Millennials at ages 25 to 29 have at least a four-year college degree, making them the best-educated group of young adults the United States has ever seen. This is due to the strong correlation between educational attainment and financial success.
A Sept. 23 Huffington Post.com article explained the numbers behind the Millennial generation and why things are the way they are. Like the rest of the 86 million Millennials in the United States, including myself, the author Ryan Donegan was told to stay in school, go to college, get a good education, and go for his dreams. So he, I and many other Millennials did just that. This country was not prepared for a generation with as many lofty goals and driven personalities as this one, and therefore, things went haywire.
According to the United States Labor Department, 16.3% of millennials are unemployed. A Harvard Study claims that only six out of ten Millennials have jobs, some of which are only part-time. 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees were awarded by universities in the 2013-2014 school year, as well as 943,000 associate’s degrees, 778,000 master’s degrees and 177,000 doctoral degrees, among the 59 percent of millennials that have gone to college. However, 58 percent of hiring managers say they have no plans to hire recent college graduates, which makes that 16.3 percent unemployment rate a little scarier. On top of all this, only 4.7 million jobs have been created in the past three years. Jobs are simply not being created fast enough to cover the rise of the Millennials. Millennial students have an average of $26,600 in student loan debt due to a 538 percent increase in college tuition cost across the country over the past years. With all of this debt and no job to help pay it off, 21.6 percent of Millennials live with their parents to help cover the cost of living.
All of these facts and numbers simply go to show that Millennials are far from lazy and conceited. It is a generation full of accepting, diverse, educated, confident individuals. Millenials are doing their share of the legwork. The reality is that society just is not quite ready to take us on yet.