5 facts you may not know about millennials

Although Gen Z is making up a larger share of college students, millennials remain an important demographic for several offices on campus.

Millennials represent higher ed's adult learners, prospective donors, and staff members. As such, it's still important to stay on top of demographic trends within the generation.

The Pew Research Center recently released an analysis of millennial households based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

Some social and economic attributes of millennials differ greatly from those of previous generations, Richard Fry, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center, writes in a post for the center's blog.

The millennial population is made up of 79.8 million people, he notes, making them the largest generation that exists today. Based on the analysis, Fry identifies five facts about millennials that you may not know:

1: Millennial households are more likely to live in poverty

In 2016, nearly 1 in 3 American households living in poverty were headed by a millennial, according to Fry. He suggests several possible explanations: Millennial heads of households are more likely than their peers of previous generations to have high amounts of student debt, be a minority, and be unmarried, all of which are associated with higher rates of poverty.

2: Millennials are less likely to own their homes  

Americans, especially young adults, began renting more after the Great Recession, mostly because of financial reasons, according to a 2017 analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Millennials are significantly less likely than previous generations to be home owners when they are the same age as individuals in those generations. Of the 45.9 million American households that rented their home in 2016, millennials made up about 18.4 million of them, Fry reports.

3: Millennials are much more likely to cohabitate

In 2016, there were 8.3 million cohabiting-couple households (unmarried couples who live together). Of those, 4.2 million of them were made up of millennials, Fry estimates. He points out that this fact is a reflection of a wider trend: millennials are more likely to live with a romantic partner than previous generations were.

4: Millennials are more likely to be single mothers

In 2016, for the first time, more millennial households were headed by a single mother (four million) than any other generation, according to Fry. Single parenthood has increased generally since 1980, but its prevalence among millennials may be connected with the other trends, such as higher rates of poverty and cohabitation, Fry writes.

5: Millennials are more likely to identify as multiracial

Roughly 630,000 millennial heads of households identified as multiracial in 2016, Fry reports. In fact, younger Americans are more likely to be multiracial as a whole (Fry, Pew Research Center, 9/6).


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