In 2014, Obama's Council of Economic Advisors came out with a report on the Millennial generation. Here are a few of the most interesting facts from it:
1. Millennials are now the largest and most diverse generation in the U.S.
The report defines Millennials as those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, making them one-third of the entire population of the U.S. (as of 2013). They are also the most diverse ever, with 42 percent identifying themselves in some category other than non-Hispanic white. That's roughly twice as diverse as the Baby Boomer generation. According to the report, this is in part due to a large uptick in immigration beginning in the 1940s. Many Millennials are the children of immigrants, or immigrants themselves.
2. Well over half of adult Millennials have attended college
In fact, a full 61 percent have already graduated with a college degree. This is a significant jump from the Baby Boomer generation, where 46 percent attended college. Among other effects, this may mean competition is more fierce in the Millennial generation for jobs, given that highly educated talent is plentiful.
3. Millennial women are more likely to study business than education
Female college students used to be very interested in education--close to 35 percent of female college graduates in the early 1970s got degrees in a field related to education. By 2011, that rate had dropped to 12 percent. In the same period, business degrees for women nearly doubled.
4. More and more Millennials are relying on loans to pay for post-secondary education
By the end of the second quarter of 2014, total outstanding student loan debt exceeded $1 trillion. This made it the second largest category of household debt.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, as tuition costs have risen, more and more students are turning to loans to pay for their education. Those most likely to default? People who attend for-profit institutions and those who do not graduate from four-year ones.
5. Millennials are getting married later
In 1950, the median age for marriage for men was 23, and women 20. By 2013, the median age for men jumped to 29 and 26 for women.
Not only are Millennials waiting longer to get married, but fewer may be getting married at all: In 1960, 77 percent of those aged 20-34 were married. In 2013, just 30 percent of the same cohort were married. It remains to be seen whether Millennials are just waiting longer to get married or whether more will choose to remain single for good.
6. Millennials are less likely to be homeowners than previous generations
The report listed several likely possibilities for why this is the case: a tight lending environment, labor market challenges tied to the 2008 downturn, and the trend of delayed marriage. It also pointed out that there are a number of observers who think the large student debt is a factor.
7. In 25 percent of Millennial households with kids, women are the primary breadwinners
Encouragingly, the report is clear that Millennial women have more economic opportunity and "labor market equality" than any previous generation--and they're taking advantage of it. In about 70 percent of Millennial households, both parents work. And in one in four of Millennial households with children, the mother is the main earner.
8. Over half of Millennials in one survey said they were interested in starting a business
According to the report, "[A]lthough several Millennials became well-known entrepreneurs in their 20s, this generation is just beginning to reach the peak age for entrepreneurship, which generally occurs in one's 40s or early 50s."
While the report didn't give contrasting statistics for previous generations, it's exciting to think that the up-and-coming generation is even more invigorated with that special blend of hope, optimism, creativity, and insanity that it takes to be an entrepreneur.
The report ended on a high note:
"[Millennials] are skilled with technology, determined, diverse, and more educated than any previous generation ... So, while there are substantial challenges to meet, no generation has been better equipped to overcome them than Millennials."
Here's to a bright future for all.