Parents report giving their 18-to-29-year-olds more financial support than they remember receiving in their 20s, according to a poll conducted by Clark University. But tuition and the cost of living are far higher now. The rise of the unpaid internship hasn’t helped, either.
Young job-seekers are at a disadvantage in today’s economy, but only the youngest millennials are really having a tough time. As of July, the unemployment rate for 20-to-24-year-olds was 12.6 percent — more than double that of Gen-Xers and far higher than the population as a whole. However, the rate for 25-to-34-year-olds was 7.5 percent — about the same rate as the broader population.
2. They’re the most self-involved generation.
A Time magazine cover story in May called millennials “The Me Me Me Generation” and, in smaller type, “lazy, entitled narcissists.” The story contended that self-absorption and self-aggrandizement are on the rise and that millennials represent the apex of a culture that cannot look away from the mirror.
The truth is that although millennials value and fret over their self-image, they also care about the world around them. They want jobs that affect social change, and they give what they can. A 2012 study found that three-quarters of young people surveyed gave to a charity in 2011, and 63 percent volunteered for a cause. More than half said they would be interested in making monthly charitable contributions.
Millennials also set loftier social goals than prior generations. Each year, a survey conducted by the University of Michigan asks high school seniors to rate their life’s ambitions. Data compiled by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a psychology professor at Clark University, shows that millennials rated “contribute to society,” “correct inequalities” and “be a leader in the community” higher than baby boomers did when they were younger.
Family, too, is important to millennials. In a recent Pew study, 84 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds said adult children should be financially responsible for their elderly parents, the largest percentage of any cohort asked.
3. They aren’t interested in marriage.
The attitudes of millennials toward marriage have been distorted by “hookup culture” articles propagating the idea that young people have made such a routine of the loveless encounter that they’ve lost some or all of their motivation to seek out meaningful and lasting relationships.