26 Amazing Facts About Millennials

iStock/PeopleImages
iStock/PeopleImages

Millennials are a favorite topic of magazine cover stories, psychological studies, marketing trend reports, and Baby Boomer complaints. The Millennial generation is often characterized as narcissistic, technology-obsessed, social media-driven, and, of course, student debt-burdened. But there's plenty to Millennials beyond what you see in the headlines. Here are 26 facts about the often-misunderstood generation.

1. The definition of Millennial varies, and keeps changing.

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. While the definition of a Millennial varies, the Pew Research Center defines a Millennial as someone born between 1981 and 1996. That means that while Millennial is often used as a shorthand for "young person," the oldest members of the cohort are now in their late 30s.

2. The term Millennial was coined back in 1991.

The term Millennial was coined in 1991 by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss in their book Generations. They decided on the label based on the fact that older Millennials would be graduating high school in 2000.

3. Millennials are voracious readers.

Millennials love to read. In 2016, they read an average of five books per year, compared to the four books the general population, on average, reads. Millennials are also more likely to visit public libraries than other generations, and despite their tech-obsessed reputation, they're more likely to read print books than e-books.

4. Millennials have been accused of killing everything from mayo to malls.

Millennials often get blamed for "killing" certain industries (though that may be due to their status as the "brokest generation"). For better or for worse, the Millennial generation has been accused of killing mayonnaise, shopping malls, paper napkins, the McDonald's Big Mac, and much more. The generation has also been blamed for falling birth rates and homeownership rates. It's not all bad news, though: Millennials have also been cited as the demographic behind America's falling divorce rate.

5. Millennials have retirement on their mind.

Millennials are already prepping for retirement. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report found that 82 percent of Millennials contribute to their employer-sponsored 401(k) plan—a higher rate than either their Gen X or Baby Boomer counterparts.

6. Millennials are at a financial disadvantage from the generations that preceded them.

Millennials have less wealth than older generations did at the same age. The median net worth of a Millennial-headed household in 2016 was only $12,500, while Gen X households had a median net worth of $15,100 when that cohort was in the 20- to 35-year-old age range.

7. Many Millennials rely on their parents for financial assistance.

Many Millennials still receive financial support from their parents. According to a 2019 Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey, seven out of 10 adults between the ages of 18 and 34 still rely on their parents for some kind of financial support. High levels of student and credit card debt play a role; a 2018 survey of 600 Millennials found that the average debt load was $42,000. Millennials are also more likely to live at home with their parents than previous generations did at the same age.

8. Millennials are very interested in self-improvement.

Millennials love self improvement. A 2015 study found that 94 percent of Millennials made personal improvement-related New Year's resolutions (like saving money), which was higher than any other age group. And 76 percent said they had kept their resolutions from the previous year.

9. Millennials are fairly self-centered—or so say Millennials.

Millennials think they are self-centered. Research presented in 2016 found that Millennials believe that their generation is more narcissistic than generations past. (Those surveyed from older generations rated Millennials as being more narcissistic, too.)

10. On average, Millennials are better educated than the generations that preceded them.

Millennials are better-educated than past generations. Approximately 40 percent of Millennials have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to about 30 percent of Gen Xers when they were the same age.

11. Millennials are political-minded—and politically active.

More Millennials are voting than ever. Between 2014 and 2018, election turnouts for U.S. Millennials almost doubled, going from 22 percent of eligible voters turning up at the polls to 42 percent. Millennials cast 26.1 million votes in the 2018 midterm elections.

12. Millennials are well represented in congress (or are at least making great strides in that direction).

As of 2019, there were 26 Millennials serving in U.S. Congress, compared to just five in January 2017.

13. Millennials are pretty stressed out!

According to the American Psychological Association's 2018 Stress in America report, U.S. Millennials report the highest stress levels of any generation. On average, Millennial respondents rated their stress level a 5.7 on a scale of 1 to 10, compared to 5.0 for Boomers and 4.1 for older Americans.

14. Millennials represent a massive portion of the workforce.

Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce. As of 2017, there were 56 million Millennials working or searching for a job, compared to 53 million Gen Xers and 41 million Baby Boomers.

15. Millennials are very dedicated to their work—sometimes a little too dedicated.

Millennials think about work a lot. A 2016 user study by Happify, a website aimed at improving mental health, found that 25- to 34-year-olds thought about and valued work more than older users.

16. Millennials aren't big on vacations ...

Millennials don't take very many vacations, either. In one 2016 survey, 48 percent of Millennial employees said they wanted their boss to view them as a "work martyr" and often feel guilty for using paid time off. A 2018 study by LinkedIn found that 16 percent of Millennials surveyed said they don't request days off work because they are too nervous to ask.

17. But Millennials love to travel.

A 2019 global survey by Deloitte found that 57 percent of Millennials put seeing the world at the top of their list of aspirations, ahead of owning a home or having children.

18. About a quarter of all Millennials are vegetarian or vegan.

Many Millennials are going meat-free. According to The Economist, 25 percent of adults aged 25 to 34 years old report being vegan or vegetarian.

19. Millennials are less healthy than the generations that preceded them.

The Millennial generation is less healthy than previous generations were at their age, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Conditions like major depression and type 2 diabetes increased in prevalence between 2014 and 2017 by double digits among Millennials: there has been a 31 percent increase in the prevalence of major depression and a 22 percent increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

That tracks with other studies, which have found that Millennials experience high rates of depression compared to older people.

20. Millennials have a lot of anxiety.

Millennials are very anxious. One survey conducted on behalf of Quartz in 2018 found that Millennial (and some Gen Z) employees between 18 to 34 years old experience work-disrupting anxiety and depression at almost double the rate of older workers. The authors of a 2018 policy brief on Millennials from the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans put it like this: "As the first generation raised on the internet and social media, as a generation that came of age in the wake of the worst recessions in modern history, and as a generation still grappling with increased economic uncertainty and worsening financial prospects, Millennials are experiencing anxiety like no other generation" [PDF].

21. Millennials are perfectionists.

One 2019 study of more than 41,000 American, Canadian, and British college students surveyed between 1989 and 2016 found that rates of perfectionism among young people have increased significantly over the last few decades. According to the researchers, "recent generations of young people perceive that others are more demanding of them, are more demanding of others, and are more demanding of themselves."

22. Millennials love the internet.

The Pew Research Center reports that 73 percent of online Millennials say that the internet has had a net positive impact on society—the highest percentage of any age group polled. The same report found that 97 percent of Millennials use the internet, and almost a third of them exclusively use it on their phones.

23. Millennials love their smartphones.

According to the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of Millennials carry smartphones, compared to 85 percent of Gen Xers. And they use them a lot: Some 25 percent of Millennials report looking at their phone more than 100 times a day, according to one international survey of 2600 people, and 50 percent spend more than three hours a day using their phones.

24. China is a Millennial hotspot.

here are a ton of Millennials in China. While a lot of the Millennial surveys we read exclusively discuss the habits and trends of American Millennials, there are more Millennials living in China than there are people in the U.S.—period. China is home to 351 million Millennials (25 percent of the country's population, compared to 22 percent in the U.S.), according to the Financial Times, while the U.S. population overall is just 329 million.

25. Seattle is becoming a MIllennial hotspot.

Many American Millennials are moving to the western U.S. According to a recent SmartAsset report based on 2016 Census data, more Millennials are moving to Washington than any other U.S. state, followed closely by Texas and Colorado. The Seattle area (home of tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft) alone gained 7300 Millennials in 2016.

26. Millennials will soon be outnumbered.

The U.S. Millennial population is expected to reach 73 million in 2019, but Millennials will soon be outnumbered. According to Bloomberg, Generation Z will outnumber Millennials worldwide starting in late 2019, edging up to around 32 percent of the world population compared to Millennials's 31.5 percent.

10 Fascinating Facts About Chinese New Year

iStock.com/aluxum
iStock.com/aluxum

Some celebrants call it the Spring Festival, a stretch of time that signals the progression of the lunisolar Chinese calendar; others know it as the Chinese New Year. For a 15-day period beginning January 25 in 2020, China will welcome the Year of the Rat, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac table.

Sound unfamiliar? No need to worry: Check out 10 facts about how one-sixth of the world's total population rings in the new year.

1. Chinese New Year was originally meant to scare off a monster.

Nian at Chinese New Year
iStock.com/jjMiller11

As legend would have it, many of the trademarks of the Chinese New Year are rooted in an ancient fear of Nian, a ferocious monster who would wait until the first day of the year to terrorize villagers. Acting on the advice of a wise old sage, the townspeople used loud noises from drums, fireworks, and the color red to scare him off—all remain components of the celebration today.

2. A lot of families use Chinese New Year as motivation to clean the house.

woman ready to clean a home
iStock.com/PRImageFactory

While the methods of honoring the Chinese New Year have varied over the years, it originally began as an opportunity for households to cleanse their quarters of "huiqi," or the breaths of those that lingered in the area. Families performed meticulous cleaning rituals to honor deities that they believed would pay them visits. The holiday is still used as a time to get cleaning supplies out, although the work is supposed to be done before it officially begins.

3. Chinese New Year will prompt billions of trips.

Man waiting for a train.
iStock.com/MongkolChuewong

Because the Chinese New Year places emphasis on family ties, hundreds of millions of people will use the Lunar period to make the trip home. Accounting for cars, trains, planes, and other methods of transport, the holiday is estimated to prompt nearly three billion trips over the 15-day timeframe.

4. Chinese New Year involves a lot of superstitions.

Colorful pills and medications
iStock.com/FotografiaBasica

While not all revelers subscribe to embedded beliefs about what not to do during the Chinese New Year, others try their best to observe some very particular prohibitions. Visiting a hospital or taking medicine is believed to invite ill health; lending or borrowing money will promote debt; crying children can bring about bad luck.

5. Some people rent boyfriends or girlfriends for Chinese New Year to soothe their parents.

Young Asian couple smiling
iStock.com/RichVintage

In China, it's sometimes frowned upon to remain single as you enter your thirties. When singles return home to visit their parents, some will opt to hire a person to pose as their significant other in order to make it appear like they're in a relationship and avoid parental scolding. Rent-a-boyfriends or girlfriends can get an average of $145 a day.

6. Red envelopes are everywhere during Chinese New Year.

a person accepting a red envelope
iStock.com/Creative-Family

An often-observed tradition during Spring Festival is to give gifts of red envelopes containing money. (The color red symbolizes energy and fortune.) New bills are expected; old, wrinkled cash is a sign of laziness. People sometimes walk around with cash-stuffed envelopes in case they run into someone they need to give a gift to. If someone offers you an envelope, it's best to accept it with both hands and open it in private.

7. Chinese New Year can create record levels of smog.

fireworks over Beijing's Forbidden City
iStock.com/lusea

Fireworks are a staple of Spring Festival in China, but there's more danger associated with the tradition than explosive mishaps. Cities like Beijing can experience a 15-fold increase in particulate pollution. In 2016, Shanghai banned the lighting of fireworks within the metropolitan area.

8. Black clothes are a bad omen during Chinese New Year.

toddler dressed up for Chinese New Year
iStock.com/lusea

So are white clothes. In China, both black and white apparel is traditionally associated with mourning and are to be avoided during the Lunar month. The red, colorful clothes favored for the holiday symbolize good fortune.

9. Chinese New Year leads to planes being stuffed full of cherries.

Bowl of cherries
iStock.com/CatLane

Cherries are such a popular food during the Festival that suppliers need to go to extremes in order to meet demand. In 2017, Singapore Airlines flew four chartered jets to Southeast and North Asian areas. More than 300 tons were being delivered in time for the festivities.

10. Panda Express is hoping Chinese New Year will catch on in America.

Box of takeout Chinese food from Panda Express
domandtrey, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Although their Chinese food menu runs more along the lines of Americanized fare, the franchise Panda Express is still hoping the U.S. will get more involved in the festival. The chain is promoting the holiday in its locations by running ad spots and giving away a red envelope containing a gift: a coupon for free food. Aside from a boost in business, Panda Express hopes to raise awareness about the popular holiday in North America.

20 Memorable Virginia Woolf Quotes

Getty Images
Getty Images

Born on January 25, 1882, Virginia Woolf was a true writer’s writer. With flowing prose and a courageous pen, she dissected every topic from the idiocy of warfare to the joys of sex. We've picked 20 lines that rank among her all-time best—which is no easy feat.

1. On recorded history

“Nothing has really happened until it has been described.”

— Said to a young acquaintance,Nigel Nicholson, who later became a successful publisher, memoirist, and politician

2. On writing about nature

“Green in nature is one thing, green in literature another. Nature and letters seem to have a natural antipathy; bring them together and they tear each other to pieces.”

— From her 1928 novel, Orlando: A Biography

3. On translating comedy

“Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.”

—From the essay collectionThe Common Reader, First Series (1925)

4. On time

“Time, unfortunately, though it makes animals and vegetables bloom and fade with amazing punctuality, has no such simple effect upon the mind of man. The mind of man, moreover, works with equal strangeness upon the body of time. An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand, an hour may be accurately represented on the timepiece of the mind by one second.”

—From Orlando: A Biography

5. On being an honest writer

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

From The Moment and Other Essays (1947)

6. On sexism

“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”

—From Orlando: A Biography

7. On writing fiction

“Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.”

—From her seminal 1929 essay “A Room of One’s Own”

8. On questioning the status quo

“Let us never cease from thinking—what is this ‘civilisation’ in which we find ourselves? What are these ceremonies and why should we take part in them? What are these professions and why should we make money out of them?”

— From her anti-war essay “Three Guineas” (1938)

9. On fashion

“There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.”

—From Orlando: A Biography

10. On food

virginia woolf

A photo of author Virginia Woolf, who was famous for writing To The Lighthouse and Orlando.

George Charles Beresford, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

— From “A Room of One’s Own”

11. On getting older

“I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.”

—From her diary (entry dated October 2, 1932)

12. On artistic integrity

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery.”

— From “A Room of One’s Own”

13. On the universe

“When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?”

—From the novel Night and Day (1919)

14. On personal growth

“I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.”

—From her 1931 novel The Waves

15. On society

“At one and the same time, therefore, society is everything and society is nothing. Society is the most powerful concoction in the world and society has no existence whatsoever.”

—From Orlando: A Biography

16. On evaluating literature

“The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear? Nobody can say. Each must decide that question for himself. To admit authorities… into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions—there we have none.”

—From The Common Reader, Second Series (1935)

17. On passion

“Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us. To gallop intemperately; fall on the sand tired out; to feel the earth spin; to have—positively—a rush of friendship for stones and grasses, as if humanity were over, and as for men and women, let them go hang—there is no getting over the fact that this desire seizes us pretty often.”

—From the novel Jacob’s Room (1922)

18. On the past

“Each had his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart; and his friends could only read the title.”

—From Jacob’s Room

19. On words

“Of course, you can catch them and sort them and place them in alphabetical order in dictionaries. But words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind. If you want proof of this, consider how often in moments of emotion when we most need words we find none. Yet there is the dictionary; there at our disposal are some half-a-million words all in alphabetical order. But can we use them? No, because words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind.

“Look once more at the dictionary. There beyond a doubt lie plays more splendid than Anthony and Cleopatra, poems lovelier than the 'Ode to a Nightingale,' novels beside which Pride and Prejudice or David Copperfield are the crude bunglings of amateurs. It is only a question of finding the right words and putting them in the right order. But we cannot do it because they do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind.”

—From “Craftsmanship,” a BBC radio address Woolf delivered on April 20, 1937 (listen to a portion of it here)

20. On life and its interruptions

“I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.”

— From her diary (entry dated February 17, 1922)

bonus: a common misquote

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”

These wise words are often mistakenly cited as Woolf’s. In reality, another writer came along and gave them to her—57 years after she died! Here’s what went down: In 1998, author Michael Cunningham released his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours. This story includes a fictionalized version of Virginia Woolf, who delivers the above line.

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