Education, economic uncertainty define part of millennial experience

Global Business

Education, economic uncertainty define part of millennial experience

Millennials recently surpassed baby boomers to become America’s biggest living generation. In 2015, there were more than 75 million people between the ages of 18 and 34 living in the United States. A new census report shows just how different millennials are from generations past.

CGTN America’s Karina Huber reports.

Education, economic uncertainty define part of millennial experience

Education, economic uncertainty define part of millennial experience

Millennials recently surpassed baby boomers to become America’s biggest living generation. In 2015, there were more than 75 million people between the ages of 18 and 34 living in the United States. A new census report shows just how different millennials are from generations past. CGTN America’s Karina Huber reports.

There are many milestones that define adulthood. Moving out of your parents’ home, getting a job, and starting a family. But the highest-ranking milestone among Americans today is getting an education.

More than 60 percent of those over 18 said finishing school is extremely important to becoming an adult.

“Getting an education is your way to best be able to put yourself in a prime position to get a job that you want as opposed to maybe past generations where a high school education is good enough, ” one millennial said.

Millennials are the most educated generation in American history but they also have more debt than ever before.

In 1989, 17 percent of young families had student debt. By 2013 that number had ballooned to 41 percent.

“It’s just this big weight looming over your head, I think. And it just adds a whole lot of stress. There’s a whole list of things after you graduate: to find a job, to find a place to live,” a New York University student said.

It’s no surprise many millennials lived at home with their parents. Marrying and having children also ranks lower among their priorities, with many delaying it until their 30s.

“Maybe there’s less of an emphasis on family and those kinds of responsibilities in our age. There’s more of a focus on working on yourself first,” said a 20-something.

David Grasso, editor at GenFKD, a millennial advocacy group, said the changes among younger generations are both cultural and economic.

“A lot of us are more skeptical about marriage and about settling down but additionally it’s hard for us to settle down,” said Grasso. “Real estate is much more expensive, education is much more expensive than it used to be and good quality jobs, despite what the unemployment rate says, are not really readily available to most millennials.”

Millennials have been accused of being spoiled and entitled but experts say it’s important to remember that they came of age at a time when the U.S. faced its biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression making it more difficult for many to achieve the same milestones taken for granted in previous generations.


Michael Zakkour talks about the influence millennials have on the economy

For more on the influence millennials have on the economy in China and around the world, CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke with Michael Zakkour, the vice president of the China and Asia Pacific Practice at Tomkins International.