We know, now, that if you must hate millennials, it's important to do so for the right reasons. And plenty of readers -- two-thirds! -- agree with the statement that "ugh, millennials really are the worst," according to the wildly unscientific poll I appended to Tuesday's article.
As I said yesterday, I don't have a dog in this generational fight. And to prove it, now I will lay out the reasons why millennials are the best generation in America. Think of me as the Beatrice to your Dante: if previously I guided you through the hell of millennial hatred, today let's travel to the heaven of 20-something splendor.
We'll skip purgatory because frankly if you live in D.C., you're already there.
1. Millennials are not haters.
At least when it comes to politics. A 2014 Pew Research Center survey looked at "partisan antipathy" and found that millennials are the age group least likely to have an unfavorable opinion of either party. Perhaps more importantly, millennials are considerably less likely than any age group to label either political party as a "threat to the nation's well-being."
And not surprisingly, the same survey found that millennials are the age group most likely to say that politicians should make compromises with people they disagree with. In an era when Congress is barely able to keep its lights on, largely due to intense partisan antipathy and distrust, electing more millennials to national offices may be our only hope.
2. They're not job-hoppers, either.
Ben can't even with this, and neither can I, because it isn't true. He dug up some Bureau of Labor Stastics data showing that today's 22-to-29 year-olds are no more likely than their peers in previous generations to quit their jobs. In fact, they appear to be a little less likely to job-hop than their Gen X predecessors.
In an analysis last year, my colleague, and notorious millennial, Jeff Guo found the same thing. Young workers typically leave jobs to take better-paying ones. This is good for their financial health, and is a sign of greater strength in the job market as a whole. Indeed, the problem isn't that millennials are job-hopping too much: it's that they aren't doing it enough.
3. Millennials support gay marriage.
As of 2014, two-thirds of millennials supported the right of gays to marry, the highest among any age group. Given that it seems the rest of the country is quickly moving toward this position, and that allowing same-sex marriage makes a lot of economic sense, this shows that 20-somethings are at the leading edge of something many consider the civil rights movement of this era.
4. Millennials are smarter about sex than previous generations.
In recent years, teen pregnancy rates have fallen to record lows. Part of the reason? Millennials are less promiscuous than their forebears: they can expect to have only 8 sexual partners in their lifetime, compared to 10 for Gen-Xers and 11 for Boomers. They're more likely to use contraception, and less likely to start having sex in early adolescence than previous generations.
This means that abortion rates are falling too -- overall, a win for everyone.
5. Millennials strongly support marijuana legalization.
Seventy-seven percent of Democratic-leaning millennials and 63 percent of their Republican counterparts support legalized marijuana, according to the latest data from Pew. Those are the highest numbers among any age groups. It turns out that being subjected to anti-drug lobbying for most of their adolescence hasn't prevented today's 20-somethings from coming to the conclusion that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and that, if your goal is to promote a healthy and just society, it might not make much very much sense to legalize the latter and put people in jail for the former.
What to conclude about millennials overall? They are terrible in someways, and eminently loveable in others. Just like every other generation, really.*
* Except for Boomers.**