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5 Ways that Millennials Differ from the Older Generations

Millennial Magazine- millennials

Millennials are in their late twenties and thirties at this point, while some of the oldest ones are about to hit the age of forty. This means that this is “their time.” They are the ones who are adults right now.

Some are becoming parents if they have not been parents for several years already. Marriage has taken place for some of them, and nearly all of them have employment or are actively looking for jobs. Gen X is ahead of them, in their forties and fifties, while Baby Boomers are well into their sixties and early seventies now.

In a sense, this means that Millennials are “in charge.” There are many Millennial politicians. They’re the group with disposable income, at least in theory, and they drive much of what America sees on TV, on movie screens, on social media, and in books and magazines.

Because of this, it’s worth talking about what Millennials bring to the table now that they’ve grown to adulthood. In what ways are they similar to previous generations, for instance, and how are they different?

Vehicle Ownership

If you go back to the post-World War II era, it seems like you’d see an enormous, boat-like car in every family’s driveway. Every one of them looked like it was about the size of a Sherman tank, and the driver could get in a fender bender and walk away without so much as a scratch. Of course, this was also the era before shoulder harness-style seatbelts, which was dangerous.

You see smaller cars now, and some of them are either hybrids or electric-powered. It’s also true that not as many Millennials own vehicles as prior generations did.

Often, that’s because they don’t feel like they can afford them. They don’t seem to have as much disposable income as some previous generations, so they might attempt to utilize public

transportation whenever they can. If they live in an area where that’s not possible, they’re more likely to try to get a certified pre-owned vehicle or a used one rather than a brand-new one.

Maybe it’s to their benefit that they’re not driving as much. In Texas, car crashes kill 3,000 people per year, and other states have even more alarming statistics. Is it any wonder that Millennials often try to work from home if they can manage it?

Jewelry Purchases

Some articles have come out lately lamenting how Millennials are not spending on diamonds during the holiday season, particularly around Christmas, Hannukah, or New Year’s, when Zale’s and some of the other larger jewelry stores have their big sales. The article writers can’t understand why Millennials appear to be abandoning this tradition.

Again, a lack of disposable income seems to be the reason more than anything else. Many Millennials responded to these articles on social media, talking about how they’re struggling to pay rent and the gas bill, so buying diamonds isn’t something that they’re considering.

The pandemic plays a part in that since it has caused job losses and some serious belt-tightening. Even were that not a factor, though, it’s hard to imagine buying jewelry when the average Millennial is approaching forty and can’t even afford the down payment on a house.

Marriage

Stats also show that Millennials are less inclined to marry than previous generations. Part of that might be because society no longer frowns on people cohabitating without marrying one another as much as it once did. The idea of “living in sin” still exists among more religious individuals, but most families understand that if two people love one another, they don’t need a piece of paper to make it seem more official.

Some Millennials still do marry, though, either for religious reasons, because they want the spectacle and glamor of a big, epic event, or else for various tax benefits. It will be interesting to see whether the marriage rate continues to drop as Gen Z and those that come after them grow into adulthood.

Having Children

Fewer Millennials are having children as well. Part of the reason for that is likely because women can much more readily pursue a career outside the home than they could before. They don’t have to be housewives and mothers before all else.

Also, some Millennials have expressed that they simply don’t want to be parents. They don’t want the responsibility.

Others have said things to the effect that they don’t want to bring children into a world that has many problems as this one does. They might cite climate change, political strife, racism, or other factors as part of why they made that decision.

Organized Religion

There also seem to be fewer religious Millennials than prior generation members. Many of them don’t have a formal religion or faith because their parents are not bothering to bring them up with one.

You might have a household that’s nominally Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc., but they don’t attend services regularly or even on the most recognized holidays. It seems that many more households are raising their children in a secular way, with minimal emphasis on any higher power.gen

Apart from all of that, Millennials are a group that grew up with technology existing that never did before their appearance on Earth, particularly personal computers. Millennials were the first group that uniformly or nearly universally had personal computers in their homes, though some Gen X members had them as well.

Because of this, Millennials are a lot more likely to be computer programmers, social media consultants, or hold down other jobs that did not exist before their becoming adults.

The average Millennial is probably not all that different from the generations that came before. On the whole, though, they seem to have less faith in prior institutions and ways of doing things than some of their predecessors.

What do you think?

Written by Brooke Chaplan

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

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