A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers captures a variety of important factors that contribute to the unique experiences of Millennials. Below is a brief summary of the report, which “takes an early look at this generation’s adult lives so far, including how they are faring in the labor market and how they are organizing their personal lives.”
· Fact 1: Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. population.
o Millennials now comprise one-third of the total population in 2013 and 42 percent identify as a race other than white.
· Fact 2: Millennials have been shaped by technology.
o While all generations have experienced technological advances, the sheer amount of computational power and access to information that Millennials have had at their fingertips since grade-school is unparalleled.
· Fact 3: Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work.
o High school seniors today are more likely than previous generations to state that making a contribution to society is very important to them and that they want to be leaders in their communities.
· Fact 4: Millennials have invested in human capital more than previous generations.
o More Millennials have a college degree than any other generation of young adults. In 2013, 47 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds received a postsecondary degree (associates, bachelor’s, or graduate degree) and an additional 18 percent had completed some postsecondary education.
· Fact 5: College-going Millennials are more likely to study social science and applied fields.
o Millennials are more likely to study social science or applied fields—like communications, criminal justice, and library science—that do not fit into traditional liberal arts curricula, but correspond more directly to specific careers
· Fact 6: As college enrollments grow, more students rely on loans to pay for post-secondary education.
o Total student outstanding loan debt surpassed $1 trillion by the end of the second quarter of 2014, making it the second largest category of household debt.
· Fact 7: Millennials are more likely to focus exclusively on studies instead of combining school and work.
o Millennials, in particular, have been less likely to work while enrolled in high school. Since 2000, labor force participation rates among high school and college students have fallen more sharply than those who are not enrolled
· Fact 8: As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Millennials are much more likely to have health insurance coverage during their young adult years.
o From the time the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage provision took effect in 2010 through the first quarter of 2014, the uninsurance rate among individuals ages 19 to 25 fell by 13.2 percentage points.
· Fact 9: Millennials will contend with the effects of starting their careers during a historic downturn for years to come.
o Millennials are currently about a third of the labor force and, as a generation, they have faced substantial challenges in entering the workforce during the most pronounced downturn since the Great Recession.
· Fact 10: Investments in human capital are likely to have a substantial payoff for Millennials.
o The college premium, the difference between median earnings for college versus high school graduates, increased from 60 percent in 2004 to roughly 70 percent in 2013.
· Fact 11: Working Millennials are staying with their early-career employers longer.
o Millennials are sometimes characterized as lacking attachment or loyalty to their employers, but in fact, contrary to popular perceptions Millennials actually stay with their employers longer than Generation X workers did at the same ages.
· Fact 12: Millennial women have more labor market equality than previous generations.
o Millennial women are attending college and attaining degrees in greater numbers than in the past. Women have closed an educational attainment gap with men that dates back to World War II.
· Fact 13: Millennials tend to get married later than previous generations.
o In 2013, only 30 percent of 20 to 34 year-olds were married, compared to 77 percent in 1960.
· Fact 14: Millennials are less likely to be homeowners than young adults in previous generations.
o The share of those under age 30 with credit scores below 680 – a lower credit score on the spectrum from 300 to 850 – is approximately 67 percent, whereas this portion of the credit score distribution is less represented among older age groups.
· Fact 15: College-educated Millennials have moved into urban areas faster than their less educated peers.
o The move toward cities has been greater among the college educated, who have increased their likelihood of living in both large and mid-sized cities. Overall, 73 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds with a college education were living in large or mid-sized cities in 2011, compared to 67 percent in 1980.
The full report, which can be found here, provides more comprehensive explanations with data and graphs.