What is a Millennial?

Millennials are the generation born between 1982 and sometime in the early 2000’s. However, these boundaries aren’t set in stone. Some definitions have the Millennial Generation starting as early as 1978 and starting as late as 1985. Basically, if you born a little earlier than 1982 and you consider yourself to be more Millennial than Generation X, that is your opinion. Or if you were born in or just after 1982 and you feel that you are more Gen X than a Millennial, the same applies. It is really up to the individuals born during the cusp years (late 1970’s to early-mid 1980’s) to decide which generation they feel a stronger connection to.

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about Millennials. One of the biggest is that we are just like Generation X, which is how we got our other name, Generation Y (it seemed logical to call us that since we were perceived to be an extension of the preceding generation). In reality, however, we are very different from Gen X. Also, many people believe that we are quite misbehaved, but in fact all youth risk behaviors have decreased over the last fifteen years, including drug use, teen pregnancy, and youth violence. Furthermore, we are very close to our families, especially our parents. Family is very important to Millennials, so much so in fact that a 2010 Pew Research Center survey found that the number one goal of the majority of Millennials is “to be a good parent.” But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In this section, ten key characteristics of the Millennial Generation are reviewed using data analysis from polls, surveys and studies. These characteristics do a great job of summing up what the Millennial Generation is like as a whole. However, that isn’t to say that all Millennials possess all the traits discussed; these are really, more or less, generalizations.

Millennials certainly have an important role to play, as was discussed in the Generational Archetypes and The Millennial Crisis sections. Fortunately, we appear to have the necessary characteristics that will help us play our role very well and become America’s next great generation.

How Millennial are you? Go here to find out.