Sorry, fellow Millennials, for referring to our generation as such. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, youâ€™re not very big fans of the Millennial moniker.
While Millennialsâ€”thereâ€™s that word again!â€”are slated to become the nation’s largest living generation and have already surpassed Generation X in their share of the workforce, most of the generation does not identify with the term “Millennial,” the survey says.
“Just 40% of adults ages 18 to 34 consider themselves part of the â€˜Millennial generation,â€™ while another 33% â€“ mostly older Millennials â€“ consider themselves part of the next older cohort, Generation X,” the research reads.
Millennialsâ€™ lack of enthusiasm for their name sets them apart, as generational identity is strongest among Baby Boomers (ages 51 to 69) at 79 percent and relatively strong among Generation X (ages 35-50) at 58 percent. Only the oldest demographics surpass Millennials in their lack of generational identity: just 17 percent of the Silent Generation (ages 70 to 87) identifies as such. Theyâ€™re more likely to see themselves as Baby Boomers or the â€œGreatest Generationâ€â€”then again, who wouldnâ€™t want to be part of the â€œgreatestâ€ generation?
The results come from a survey of 3,147 adults who are part of the Centerâ€™s American Trends Panel, a nationally representative, random selection of U.S. adults. The survey also found that a general malaise pervades the collective Millennial self-consciousness. â€œMillennials, in particular, stand out in their willingness to ascribe negative stereotypes to their own generation: 59% say the term â€˜self-absorbedâ€™ describes their generation, compared with 30% among Gen Xers, 20% of Boomers and just 7% of Silents,â€ the research says.
Perhaps the apathy stems from not knowing what â€œMillennialâ€ means, exactly. For one, thereâ€™s no precise dating system for definitively determining members of the generationâ€”a lack of generational identity would, of course, be a consequence of this. Various researchers have counted birth dates ranging all the way from 1980 to 2004 as the Millennial generation.
Thereâ€™s also the fact that Millennials catch a lot of flack for who they are. Remember Timeâ€™s â€œThe Me Me Me Generation?â€ How could a Millennial forget? Itâ€™s not exactly intuitive to identify with â€œlazy, entitled, selfish and shallow.â€ Fortunately, a different Pew Center report reveals Millennials, despite resisting their generationâ€™s name, to be stubbornly optimistic. Collectively, theyâ€™re different from other demographic in virtually ever metric. â€œThey are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marryâ€” and optimistic about the future,â€ the report reads.
Perennially under the microscope for reasons good or bad, Millennials will probably have to get used to their names. Alternatives, like Gen Y or Digital Natives, havenâ€™t yet stuck. Be thankful: we could be the â€œever-indebtedâ€ or â€œnarcissistically optimisticâ€ generation.