6 Ways That Millennials Are Redefining American Adulthood

Illustration by Daniella Urdinlaiz
Illustration by Daniella Urdinlaiz

Everywhere you look, there seems to be some older generation getting their jollies from bashing the millennial generation, saying that we are lazy or entitled. When we try to change how things work, we are called “crybabies” or “snowflakes.” But in reality, we are the generation that is most likely to incite change at this very moment. We are, so far, the most accepting generation of people, and we are also the biggest group, having recently surpassed the baby boomers with over 75 million individuals aged 18 -35 in America alone. We are becoming a force to be reckoned with. With that being said, there are a couple of ways that our generation is different from generations past. Here’s how the millennial generation is redefining what it means to be an adult in America.


1. Millennials care about the environment.

Studies and polls have shown the millennial generation cares immensely about what happens to the planet. The reason being is that we will most likely be alive to experience it. As a generation we tend to value recycling and our carbon footprint, unlike past generations, who mostly didn’t really consider consequences of their actions and their impact on the environment. As a result millennials are more likely to “go green” than their predecessors in generations past.


2. Millennials have more tattoos than past generations.

Almost half of millennials have at least one tattoo. What does this mean? It means that as a whole millennials also tend to care less about how their employees and coworkers tend to look. Millennials in the workplace are less judgmental of tattoos overall than previous generations, although a lot of millennials still get tattoos in places that are easily hidden, because the reality is that even though fewer people are judgmental of tattoos now, there is still some stigma attached.


3. Millennials have different values in the workplace.

In general millennials are more educated than previous generations. Because of this millennials are also looking for jobs in which they are valued by their talents and less by how long they’ve been at a particular company. They value things like hard work, a job that is cutting-edge, job satisfaction, as well as merit and recognition for the work that they do, as opposed to previous generations that emphasized loyalty in a company. Millennials were taught that they had to invest in themselves, and they also grew up with figures such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs. Millennials were taught that being successful didn’t always include the 9-5 grind. It meant finding what you were passionate about and putting it into the work. Because of this they look at jobs very differently. They are redefining what the job market looks like.


4.Millennials emphasize fitness and health.

Today more millennials do some sort of fitness routine or follow a diet to help them stay healthy, with millennials being almost 2x more likely to have a fitness regime than past generations. That isn’t the only area of health millennials care about, either. 83% of 12th graders in 2015 say that they disapprove of smoking, as compared to only 69% in 1998. This mindset will be helpful in future generations and will hopefully lead to healthier lives for everyone later in life.


5. Millennials are spending less money on “ticket items.”

Cars, houses, and luxury items aren’t really on the radar for millennials. This is because of student loan debt as well as a decrease in money earned. Millennial incomes have been dropping since the early 2000s, and because of this combined with their debt, they are less inclined to live alone and buy things like a car, simply because they can’t afford to. The average amount of student loan debt right now is $33,000 (but I know people with 100,000+ in debt), and at a combined total of over $1.3 trillion for America, it’s easy to see why millennials still live with their parents. Most millennials plan to move out independently after the age of 35. There is a bright side to this, though. This shift, I believe, will impact the housing market dramatically in years to come. The latter end of the millennial generation, the ones who are in their 30s will soon be buying houses for the first time, which should have a positive effect on the economy, hopefully helping the market get back on track.


6. Millennials are more diverse and less likely to follow gender roles than previous generations.

Today 45% of millennials in America are nonwhite. Americans today are more culturally diverse than in the past, with Baby Boomers being 75% white. This is also a reason why millennials are more accepting of other cultures than in the past. In fact it applies to other areas of diversity as well. Almost 75% of millennials are for gay marriage. Another vast difference is also in the way they see women in the workplace, seeing as the millennial generation is the first generation to have more women attending college than men.

Millennials are making strides all across America and across the globe. They are a generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, chasers of freedom and have been moving mountains. From the look of it they have no intention of stopping anytime soon, preparing a way for the future generations and truly making America great again. TC mark

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