Millennials, where will you be in five years? What are your passions? What makes you tick? What makes you want to get up in the morning? What would you do if you won the lottery? My friends seem like they have a hard time answering these questions.

These are the questions I ask myself constantly. Some days the answer is right there, other days it seems as if I might have to go to the edge of the world to find out.

I know what I don’t want though, so at least I have that.

  • I don’t want success, I want value.
  • I don’t want to live in a place that values consumerism over the consumer.
  • I don’t want to have the same experiences over and over again for the rest of my life.
  • I don’t want my friends to just be concerned with the latest movie or T.V. show airing.

Are these the things that millennials value?

What is it You Want?

Millennials, the largest and most racially diverse generation to date is getting a lot of flak. A lot of older generations consider us the worst one yet. We’re lazy, entitled, and liberal. Well, let’s break down the facts and see what’s true and what isn’t.

    • Is it true?: We’re dependent. We still, for the most part, live at home with our parents.

Unfortunately or fortunately, this is true according to pew. We are more likely than other generations to still be living with our parents. We now see around 43% of young men 18-34 still living with their parents, the highest rate since the 1940’s. A lot of it is due to economical stress. It’s easier to pay bills when you are still being supported by your family. Still, as with a lot of my friends, the reasons sometimes are just not wanting to lose quality of life. Your mom has internet and in the big scary world of apartments, maybe that’s a luxury you couldn’t afford.

When your Uncle is giving you shit and begins with something like “Back in my day, we moved out when we were 18…”, well he’s probably right. Only 24% of young people (men and women alike) lived with their parents in 1960. Don’t feel too bad though, a lot of it is coming from college students. For example, according to pew, 45% of women going to college are staying at home, compared with 33% of non-students.

Are Millennials Going to College?

Yes, we are still going to college, but according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center college enrollment has dropped around 2% overall in 2015. The largest drop is coming from for-profit universities, which hell… is that really bad? I don’t think so. We will have more to be worried about when this trend continues.

Bloomberg attributes the decrease to a “stronger” economy and more people opting for employment rather than school. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate.

Stat chat points the finger at lower birth rates being the cause for younger millennials not attending in previous numbers. And according to the U.S. census, college age populations are declining. So for the foreseeable future, I think it will continue to fall.

The takeaway is that the overall trend is around a 6% drop in enrollment in the last four years. For the “most educated generation” we aren’t looking so good in the coming times.

Do Millennials Still Value Religion?

millennials

Well, a good chunk may say no. 36% of millennials view themselves as non-affiliated with any religion. A lot of the younger generation leaves religion behind in their childhood, going the way of the Easter Bunny and Santa. And even those raised as atheist or agnostic are still even more likely to remain so, fully 67% of them. Which according to pew is a much higher retention rate than other “religious groups”. The religion of atheism is growing.

And Not to Forget Politics

The younger you go down the more liberal we are. Millennials by far, are the most liberal of all the age groups. A full 41% of all of them are either liberal or mostly liberal and that’s 7% more liberal than even Gen X. Even among likely republicans and conservative leaning millennials, 17% of them consider themselves more liberal.

What does this mean?

Well, for one, it means that if we do vote, and that’s a big IF, we will vote more liberally. Does that carry any substance? We would actually have to get out and vote for this to be true. And while we do make up around 31% of the electorate, how many of us are actually registered?

From NPR:

“In fact, millennials continue to have the lowest voter turnout of any age group. Only about 46 percent voted in the last presidential election; compared to 72 percent of the Silent Generation, who habitually punch above their weight.”

So less than half of us actually bother to get out and vote. We are called the “me generation” for staring at our phones and sharing memes. We need to get out and vote, and hopefully as with some of the older groups we will eventually get there. The problem is that the only person who could have pulled down some millennial voters *cough* Bernie *cough* is not going to be the nominee. It’s going to once again be the lesser of two evils. Deciding who is evil and who isn’t is definitely going to be a tough one this go around.

The Times They Are a’ Changin’

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton

And just like Isaac, we too, are standing on the shoulders of giants. We now make up the largest generation to boot and soon to be the most influential on almost every spectrum. We now make up the largest workforce in America and are close to the largest spending power. Millennials won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. The “me generation” is here to stay, and for better or worse, we will make a difference.