For many years the huge Baby Boom generation seemed to get all the attention. Subsequent waves of Gen X and Y members complained that they were overshadowed by the Boomers.Now that the Millennial generation has overtaken the Boomers in size, are they the new “it” generation?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials, or America’s youth born between 1982 and 2000, now number 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population.
New estimates from Census say that Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers, a group which currently includes around 75.4 million members.
They’re a diverse group, with 44.2% belonging to a minority race or ethnic group (that is, a group other than non-Hispanic, single-race white).
Older Millennials Are Now Running Things
Millennials have the numbers, and they represent the future. The older members of this generation are now running things in many places, as managers and business owners.
Of course, being young and numerous, Millennials have become the main focus of any company that’s looking to grow its customer base. Billions are spent trying to gauge their tastes, and follow their trends.
But will they be as dominant, or resented, as the Boomers have been. It’s hard to imagine such a thing.
After all, the Boomers emerged onto the scene during the nation’s awesome post-WWII economic expansion. They came of age during the turbulent and exciting 1960s, pioneered new philosophies and lifestyles, and felt confident in challenging the orthodoxies of “middle America”.
Not Like the Boomers
By contrast, the Millennials have come of age during a time of economic stagnation, even decline. Many have emerged from college, deeply in debt, only to find themselves in a tough job market. Many would love to have the security of the boring, old mid-20th-century economy available to them.
If the Millennials do emerge as trailblazers, it will be because they’ve had to overcome adversity and to invent new pathways to success. They have the opportunity to redefine the “American Dream,” but they’ll do it out of necessity, not choice. In this way, they’re quite different from the Boomers.