Since the beginning of time, each generation is defined by something. Throughout the 20th Century, generations were usually defined the wars they fought in or the movements that they pushed forward in the American consciousness. For example, during the early parts of the century, wars raged all throughout Europe. The allegiances, enemies, and political boundaries changed like the weather across the Atlantic that throughout most of the early part of the century people were defined by whether they helped the war effort or not. Those people were called the Greatest Generation and it was obvious why.
In the years to come, the Greatest Generation got freaky when they came back from the war and started having kids. The birth rate after World War II skyrocketed and created what American’s now know as “Baby Boomers” to reflect the boom in the birth rate over a period of a couple decades.
After Baby Boomers came Generation X. This is the generation that was a bit lost for a while and is probably defined by their “sweet new position as Assistant Manager at the local car dealership” or are excited to have finally learned how to use an iPhone.
Then come the millennials. The group born starting in 1981 is looming to become the largest group in the world. Based on the prior three generations, millennials have shaped their economic and personal decisions and it is, in turn, shaping the world. It is important to keep up with this group because their decisions will set the course for the next generation. What is even more important is to understand what this group does not do, in addition to what they are capable of doing. By understanding this, historians can explain whatever catastrophe or success occurs in the future. Enjoy the 15 things millennials don’t do anymore.
15. Have Kids
Typically, it goes without saying that having kids is as difficult as anything that humans do. Babies hardly sleep through the night so many parents can go nights without getting any proper sleep. In those dreary, sleep-deprived hours, a parent has to somehow try to not only make a home for the little brat, but also has to think about their future. To make things even more difficult, the parents of the kid had better along. If not, they can rest assure their child will be holding somebody at gun point in the future.
With all of this information, millennials are just simply refusing to have kids. Well, they are at least having kids and plan to have kids at a much slower rate than the generation before them. A 2012 study found that compared to a cohort in 1992, the number of 22-year-olds that said that they wanted to have children in the future dropped nearly 50%. Mostly it is because the economy, but it may be because some millennials are just ugly.
14. Get Married
A bad economy does weird things to people’s habits. Just ask anyone who grew up from the Great Depression. They are more likely to stuff money under their mattress than invest it in the stock market. Basically, the money is just going to sit instead of having any chance to actually grow. Millennials came of age in a bad economy too and it has affected their decisions not just with their money, but with their personal lives as well. Millennials are essentially trying to do what they think is smart in light of the economic conditions.
Millennials are far, far less likely than older generations to get married. Despite often cited proof that the most wealthy and successful people tend to married, they are more interested in cohabitation or playing the field than they are to get married. Of course, millennials are still in their 30s, so it is more likely that some of them have just yet to tie the knot. In the years to come, their habits, and choices, may change.
13. Buy A Home
Ok, so this one may be less the fault of millennials and more the fault of the economic conditions that millennials grew up in. Research shows that most millennials actually want to own a home. So, it is clear that millennials are more interested in parking their crap in their own humble abode as opposed to their parent’s house. But thanks to Wall Street, older generations, and banks, the opportunity to own a home is essentially turning millennials off and turning them away.
As much as it would be nice to own a home, millennials realize that even though they still have to see their dad walk around occasionally without pants, living with him makes a little more sense until they have the hundreds of thousands of dollars necessary to purchase a house in most markets. Plus, there is little incentive to move out. If a guy takes someone out on a date and his date is living at home with the parents too then there is no pressure to actually get a place of his own. Everyone wins.
12. Pay For Cable
The next Generation, Generation Z or Generation AA, whatever the media calls it, will never know a time without Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video. For really young kids, their whole lives are going to be defined by being able to dial up just about any show they want, whenever they want, and watching the entire series in a weekend. For millennials, most remember a time where their parents had a regular cable subscription with defined start and end times for their favorite programs. But they grew tired of it quick in favor of the aforementioned video services.
The reasons for this are usually painfully clear on most people’s monthly cable bills. Millennials realized that there was no sense in them paying for the Food Network when they do not even know how to cook. Also, millennials figured that if they wanted to watch a basketball game occasionally, they should not have to pay for ESPN to play the basketball game and also 20,000 hours of X-Games of coverage at the same time. Millennials wised up and used their buying power to their advantage here.
11. Steal Music
For older millennials, those around 33 or 34 years old, stealing music was a way of life in their late teens. For those old enough to remember, they would figure out the kinds of songs they wanted by going to Best Buy and looking at the LPs of their favorite artists. They would then make a list and take it over to a friend’s house who had the best connection to the internet. Then, both of the millennial crooks would search the internet for those songs through some nefarious program such as Limewire and would (almost) instantly have their favorite songs on a CD.
The problem with that is that the music quality was often really bad. Through many songs, there would be some joker who was an amateur DJ who either bleeped out the curse words or yelled their catchphrase over the best parts of the songs. Millennials eventually wised up and found out that if they just paid a few dollars for their music digitally, that they could get clean, good version of their songs.
10. Buy Cars
If the generation during World War II is known as the Greatest Generation, then Generation Y is going to be known as the Cheapest Generation. One piece of evidence of this is that millennials are buying cars far less frequently than their predecessors. By taking a gander at the previous items on this list, is it any wonder why millennials would not opt to be saddled with even more debt and responsibility than is necessary?
Two shining examples of this trend away from buying overpriced cars is through the companies Uber and Lyft. Both of these companies are competing furiously for the attention of millennials with their service. Both of these organizations basically offer discounted rides to people in nearly every city in America. This means that if a millennial needs to get around, they can punch up a ride on their app, and for $20, they can be chauffeured around town just like when they were 12.
9. Work At The Same Job Forever
Most millennials know someone from Generation X or a Baby Boomer who absolutely loves their job security. That older person may have started at IBM, for example, back in 1981 as a computer engineer and they have stayed with the organization ever since. It is clear from their entire existence that they would never even consider leaving IBM even if the whole building set on fire. That older person would probably have to be dragged out, kicking and screaming, clutching their I.D. badge with a picture on it back when they had hair. They love their job, and they love their job security.
For millennials, this sounds kind of like a death sentence. Millennials are probably 5,000% more likely to keep the television in their living room longer than they keep a position at the same place. Ambitious, bright, and confident, millennials understand that their value is not in staying in one place their entire lives, but rather moving around to different organizations to spice up their life.
To be clear, the social media site is still a giant. With over a billion users, if Facebook decided that it wanted to take control over the entire world, its leaders would just have to press a button and it would happen in an instant. The social networking behemoth helped people connect with one another in ways that they could not have previously imagined. For millennials, they were able to stay in touch with their friends even if they moved away, post pictures of their recent vacations, and sometimes just play games.
But all that changed with older generations found Facebook. Now, instead of having to hear their uncle’s obnoxious rants about people of Middle-Eastern descent only once a year at Thanksgiving, a millennial gets to see his views every day in their news feed. In addition, if a millennial did anything of which their parents would disapprove, the prying eyes of older people on Facebook makes posting pictures of those crazy things a lot less fun. To help, millennials are turning to Snapchat to help secure their privacy.
7. Go To Church
A number of millennials probably remember at least going to church when they were a kid. Whether they were Muslim, Christian, Mormon, Catholic, or Protestant, their parents made them get dressed up in their Sunday best, pile in the car, and head to the chapel like clockwork.
Not to say that millennials have stopped going to church entirely, but evidence is showing that millennials are going to church far less often than their older predecessors. This is primarily true for Christians. There is a sharp decline in the number of millennials that are headed to church every Sunday, and the reasons are baffling sociologists and regular church-goers alike.
For most millennials, the problem is clear: football and other great television is on Sunday, and church just straight up interferes with it. It is possible that companies like the NFL could just move their programming to a different day altogether, but in comparison, that would be blasphemous.
6. Buy Expensive Clothes
In particular, baby boomers love to buy expensive clothing. A part of the reason is because many of their parents suffered through the Great Depression, where wages were so low that buying a new pair of clothes just made no sense. The Greatest Generation often made their own clothing or just tried to find a way to stretch the life out of their clothes and the clothes of their children. Since baby boomers grew up in times of relative prosperity, buying expensive clothes became a very expensive habit.
Mirroring their grandparents and great grandparents, millennials are spending way less money on clothes than older generations and are loving it. Based primarily on the chic nature of buying second-hand clothing and the status that comes with finding a great deal on clothing items, millennials will brag more that they found a shirt for 50 cents from Goodwill than say they spent $50 at Macy’s.
5. Moving Away From Their Hometown
The common theme in this list is that economic factors are driving the decisions of a number of millennials. It is deciding when they marry, when they have kids, and whether they buy a house. Those are often three of the biggest decisions they will ever make. The other big decision? It is where they are going to live. The research is showing that although millennials are still mobile, they are opting to stay in their hometown rather than go out and explore the world.
This tends to make sense though. Millennials are concerned about the skyrocketing price of housing in some of America’s major, glamorous cities like Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, and figured they could spend half of their hard earned money and get a bigger place to live if they just stayed put where they grew up. Plus, their friends, families, and favorite memories are where they grew up, so why leave?
For anyone that is a fan of the show Mad Men on AMC, one of the most overriding themes of the show is how much everyone smokes. Back in the 50s and 60s, people could smoke just about anywhere. They could smoke inside office buildings. They could smoke inside of taxi cabs. They could smoke inside of restaurants. Of course, those generations did not have any idea how harmful smoking was for the body and it was an accepted part of the culture.
Now, millennials have seen the dangers of smoking. For many millennials, they have probably lost a parent, friend, or family member to smoking related illnesses. The list of problems that come from smoking are endless. Plus, with access to this information obtained easily over the internet, millennials are more informed than ever. Evidence is popping up that millennials are far less likely to pick up a cigarette now than a person of the same age years before.
3. Wait For Things
Millennials are what economists and sociologists are calling “digital natives.” This is just a non-offensive term to describe the fact that millennials have never grown up in a time where they did not have constant access to the internet. Even older millennials had regular, fast access to the internet when they were in their early 20s, so they had a chance to spend the time and energy getting used to having things come much more instantaneously than generations past.
Big business is starting to understand this trend, too. A good example of this is the range of Amazon, Inc. services that are provided, virtually eliminating any waiting time. One of the best deals for Amazon is called Amazon Prime. This is where a person can look at a sweet new pair of shoes, decide they want it, and in two days they will get it.
But wait, there’s more. Amazon decided that they should invent something called Amazon Now, which means that if a person buys something, depending on the time of day, they can get it the same day. Hardly any waiting including.
Growing up, with the innovations made in airplane and car technology, millennials were able to travel with family and friends much more frequently than in years past. The internet also helped some generations get comfortable with booking tickets and hotel rooms, without having to call or write in to get a reservation. Basically, travel became easier and less frustrating over the years.
Fast forward to the post-9/11 world. Security has become so tight in some airports that people can count on either having their junk touched by an underpaid TSA agent or have their brand new shampoo thrown right into the garbage can. Add on the high price of hotels and the better option of a cheaper, more relaxing “staycation” then a recipe for reduced travel becomes apparent.
Besides, with the advances in technology, a person can virtually be transported to another world. A millennial can feel like they traveled abroad just by seeing photos of their friend’s vacations on social media or punching up a Google Maps image, reducing the need to experience it for themselves.
1. Exclude People
Changes in the economy and technology have brought people together unlike ever before in human history. With an hour and a few clicks of a mouse, a millennial can find out everything that they need to know about the weather, culture, and fun things to do in a city that is thousands of miles away. With the advances in mobility for people across the world, a millennial can have a conversation on a bus with someone who comes from an ancient land, learning a ton about their people. Basically, millennials are more knowledgeable and less afraid of outsiders.
As such, millennials are far less likely to act in exclusive, prejudicial ways like older generations. Not to say that older generations are awful human beings, but the lines between white, black, minority, majority, etc. have far less importance to millennials. Because millennials grew up in a more connected world, they feel less isolated and have a more sensitive understanding of people who are not like them. This information has opened millennials up to experiences and friends their parents could only dream of and in turn has reduced the feelings that exclusion is better than inclusion.
Hooray for young people.