Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about Millennials. One of the biggest is that we are just like Generation X, which is how we got our other name, Generation Y (it seemed logical to call us that since we were perceived to be an extension of the preceding generation). In reality, however, we are very different from Gen X. Also, many people believe that we are quite misbehaved, but in fact all youth risk behaviors have decreased over the last fifteen years, including drug use, teen pregnancy, and youth violence. Furthermore, we are very close to our families, especially our parents. Family is very important to Millennials, so much so in fact that a 2010 Pew Research Center survey found that the number one goal of the majority of Millennials is “to be a good parent.” But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Generations are analytical constructs, and developing a popular and expert consensus on what marks the boundaries between one generation and the next takes time. Pew Research Center has established that the oldest “Millennial” was born in 1981. The Center continues to assess demographic, attitudinal and other evidence on habits and culture that will help to establish when the youngest Millennial was born or even when a new generation begins . To distill the implications of the census numbers for generational heft, this analysis assumes that the youngest Millennial was born in 1997.