Talkin’ Bout My Generation

The Factors That Define Millennials in America

“Four young people smiling while talking near a staircase outside a building” by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

There are many controversies as to whether or not there is any real concrete difference between Millennials and the generations prior. Many would argue that we are just repeating history. Many say that we are just responding to changes in innovation. Many say that it is just the stage of life we are in.

However, if you remove age from the equation, then you can truly examine the defining characteristics that make up this distinct group classification known as Millennials.

When you remove age from the equation, you can ignore the argument that Millennials will eventually “grow out of it”. Like everyone else, we follow the same human developmental stages such as learning to walk as a child and going through puberty as an adolescent.

When you dismiss the notion that “We all grow up and grow old”, you can acquire a deeper understanding as to why Millennials are such an enigma to Non-Millennials.

The fascination with this particular generational category is that although we may fall under the same age group, we are not all the same kinds of people. Simply falling into the same age group is not what defines this generation. Instead, it is the multitude of factors such as our upbringing and environment.

My friends are all near same age as me, yet their parents are ten or more years younger than my parents. This generational gap between our parents’ ages creates a large difference in parenting styles and the way that an individual has been raised. This can be traced as far back as to how their parents raised them, and how their parent’s parents raised them, and so on. Furthermore, if you go back to our parent’s generation and earlier, you’ll see that cultural influence also plays a large role in the way we have been raised.

If you take a look at the number of Millennials who are minorities, moreover first-generation Americans, this creates even larger differences in terms of cultural background. Statistics are consistently rising in reference to the number of minorities within the Millennial age group in particular.

According to the a recent article by the Pew Research Center titled, “Millenials in Adulthood”,

“Some 43% of Millennial adults are non-white, the highest share of any generation. About half of newborns in America today are non-white, and the Census Bureau projects that the full U.S. population will be majority non-white sometime around 2043.”

When you take parenting styles and ethnic background into consideration, you can easily observe that a majority of those who fall into the Millennial category have been raised with multiple cultural perspectives; that of American perspective and that of their ethnicity. These layers upon layers of differences are the reasons behind our contrasting view on politics, race, and a laundry-list of other topics. We are extremely multi-dimensional when it comes to our perspectives on specific topics.

This particular age group is so complex and difficult to understand because we are made up of such a diverse group of individuals. What may apply to some Millennials doesn’t always apply to others.

Another factor also largely depends on the environment in which you were raised.

To be more specific, it is no surprise that different parts of the United States are more progressive than others. If you look across the country to see where there are larger populations of minorities, you will most likely find that there is also a more diverse range of political views in those areas as well. Of course, it’s all relative. Demographically, one may notice a greater impact from the “Millennial Movement” than other areas in the United States because of the individuals who inhabit that area.

We cannot deny that there are differences between Millennials versus generations who came before us. Yes, we will all eventually grow up and grow old. We may eventually buy a car, get married, buy a house, and follow other typical behavioral patterns of those of our parents. Not all of us, but many of us will.

When looking at Millennials, you must take into consideration the significant varying factors in respect to the way we were raised, our ethnic backgrounds, and the environment that we grew up in. If we took these things into consideration, then maybe we would have a better understanding of not only Millennials, but society as a whole.