What Is a Millennial? (Updated for 2018!)

What Is a Millennial? Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask

Note: This post What is a Millennial? Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask from October 20, 2015, has been updated on March 4, 2018, to include the latest statistics and research about millennials and all generations in the multigenerational workplace.

When I talk to people about my work with the multigenerational workplace, I hear a lot of preconceived notions about millennials. Unfortunately, most of it is negative and based more on cliché than fact.

Today I want to provide a peek behind that millennial mask. Although it’s impossible to “define” a group of 80 million unique individuals, here are some general descriptors I feel comfortable applying to the largest generation in the United States today.


Wait, what? Let me explain.

A study from Pew Research found that only 40 percent of millennials even identify with the word “millennial,” compared to nearly 80 percent of those aged 51 to 69 who consider themselves part of the Baby Boomer generation.

I was actually surprised that almost half of millennials claimed to be comfortable with their generational moniker, since I find that most of the young people I meet prefer that their generation not have a title at all.

It makes sense that millennials would want to avoid the term, when you consider the negative generalizations that are frequently applied to this generation in the media, like “entitled,” “narcissistic” and “lazy.” (And it might also be because they are weary of being blamed for just about everything.)

I also find this generation to be more focused on describing themselves as individuals (hence the rise in “personal branding” as a career skill) than as members of a massive group.

This begs the question: what should we call this cohort if not the M-word? Clearly I do use the term millennial because it’s helpful to have some sort of terminology, but I use it in a respectful fashion, realizing that most millennials don’t care for any group name at all.

The bottom line is that it’s important for managers, marketers and recruiters to understand that using the word as a descriptor (as in “millennial-focused office”) will rarely come off positively. Young professionals tell me they prefer terms like “emerging professionals” or “next generation” when referring to their age group in the workplace.


Let’s move on to some actual data points about this cohort.

P.S. Don’t worry if this is all news to you — no, you didn’t miss “generations day” in school. It’s all somewhat nebulous…and ever-changing. And being “millennial” is, in many ways, a state of mind. Pew Research even has a fun quiz, How millennial are you?” that shows where you fit on the scale.

1. How old are millennials?

Demographers disagree, but the date range I use comes from Pew Research Center, because I find them to be most reputable. They peg millennials as those who were born between 1981 and 1996.  

But other sources offer other time frames: The thing about generations is that there is no set “date.” It’s not like the hospitals made a declaration that “This is the last Gen Xer. The next baby born will be a millennial!”

Now, if you were born between 1981 and 1996  and are thinking you don’t really feel like a millennial, you are not alone.  In fact, a new micro-cohort has recently been named — the Xennial, which refers to those born between 1977 and 1983. Often described as having neither the cynicism of Xers or the optimism of millennials, a key difference is that they grew up before technology became ubiquitous.

Millennials Rising PDF cover
2. How did millennials get their name?

Credit for the moniker “millennial” goes to Neil Howe and the late William Strauss, who first used the term in the mid-90s and wrote Millennials Rising in 2000. It was an outgrowth of work they had done for a book called Generations, which was among the first to explore the idea that groups share qualities such as beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors because of the time period when they grew up.

Other names applied to millennials include:

  • Generation Y: Yes, “millennial” and “Gen Y” are the same thing.
  • Echo boomers: As children of Boomers, millennials make up the largest generation since their parents.
  • Digital natives: They are the first generation who don’t know adult life without the internet and personal tech devices.

By the way, my personal pet peeve surrounding the name is when it is couched in the phrase “so-called millennials.” We don’t say “so-called Gen X-ers,” do we? Can’t we just call them millennials at this point?

3. Are millennials really that different from other generations?

We’re all human beings and I believe that a lot of what is considered to be “millennial behavior” is more about age and life stage, rather than generation. After all, it’s not hard to remember when Gen X was known as the “Slacker Generation” because we changed jobs a lot and got married later than our parents.

However, there are some very tangible differences between millennials’ life experiences and those of previous American generations. Here are a few statistics that I find interesting, all from various Pew studies:

5. What are millennials like in the workplace?

As of 2015, Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, and I find there are three main areas where today’s leaders need to shift their mindset to work more effectively with millennial employees:

  1. When it comes to desired leadership style, “command and control” management has become “coaching.”
  2. “Uniformity” of work experience has moved to a desire for “customization.”
  3. Employees’ being on a “need-to-know basis” has morphed into a desire for “access and transparency.”

If you want to know more about these styles, I encourage you to read my white paper, 3 Things Every Employer Needs To Know About Millennials or check out my TEDx Talk, It’s About Time We Stop Shaming Millennials.

It’s also important to note that millennials are no longer your fresh-faced newbies. Today they are scattered up and down the professional ladder. In fact, an EY survey found that 62 percent of millennials already manage the work of others.  

And it’s increasingly common for a manager to have direct reports who are older than they are: One survey found that almost 40 percent of Americans report to a boss who is younger than they are.


And now that you’ve gotten almost comfortable with millennials, here comes the next generation, known most commonly as Gen Z or iGen.

Keep in mind that Gen Zs are going to be a smaller generation than the millennials, much like Gen Xers (the parents of most Zs) were a significantly smaller cohort than the Boomers. And the first Gen Zs are just reaching the age of 21 and joining the full-time workforce so we don’t have a lot of data yet about them. But my clients are curious about characteristics that set Gen Z apart.

Characteristics that separate Generation Z from millennials:

And of course, now that Gen Z is reaching the workforce, speculation has already begun on the generation after that, many of whom haven’t even been born yet. Since we are now out of letters, one expert has stepped forward to call these yet-to-be-conceived kids Generation Alpha.

Personally, I am reserving judgment until that generation actually draws its first breath…

I’d love to hear what you think about generations, millennial and otherwise. Please share below or on Twitter.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace, trusted by global companies, universities and the world’s top media outlets. A New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her presentations have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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108 Responses

    1. @Pam – Thanks for your question. What I advise is asking Millennials themselves what they would prefer to be called or what words they would most respond to in your marketing. My hunch is they won’t respond to “Millennial.” Good luck!

      – Lindsey

      1. As someone who fits that demographic, i find it super weird when people refer to me as a millennial. It’s not offensive or anything, it’s just that usually the people who use that term don’t seem to even know anyone who would be considered millennial. Also typically the people who call us that are usually talking about how obsessed we are with technology…. so yah I wouldnt market with that if i were you.

      2. I have always considered myself as a millennial. Honestly it never occurred to me that people would be offended to be called one. I never let silly stereotypes get me down… I also would never consider myself or my siblings who are mostly millenials themselves, as lazy or entitled self absorbed idiots… I thank my father for that.. He had the foresight to use a little known concept called parenting and discipline to make us into the upstanding citizens we should be. I guess that males me part of the 40%

    2. I see this is an old comment but just want to say I just learned from this article that I’m a Millennial. I assumed the word meant people born in the new Millenium, so today’s teenagers. I actually found this article because I finally Googled the term. Had no idea it was the same as Generation Y. That’s the term I’ve always associated myself with.

      1. Welcome to the Millennial Generation, Leia! (lol) What sort of stereotypes did you feel Generation Y was associated with that differs from Millennials? (Simply curious.)

    3. If you want to market an idea towards millennials, you should state it in a different way such as, “made for a new generation” or make it so it is easy to infer that it is for people in that age group by context clues. Don’t use the word millenials, it has a negative connotation.

    4. As a millennial, I can tell you we HATE being called millennial. There are so many bad connotations attached to the term now. I hear someone say it and my blood boils.

    5. To recruit and/or hire a specific age group will likely be discrimination based on age and illegal if people over 40 are excluded. ADEA. Just something to keep in mind. Use the job duties and skills needed rather than age.

  1. Great article here! I think one of the biggest negative attitudes towards this generation is that they are lazy. In truth, they’re innovative. It’s not that they are lazy, but that they will use available resources to do something in an hour that might take a Gen X’er two or three. In truth, many of the negative attitudes towards millennials might speak more about the generation holding them than it does about the actual Millennials.
    I think one of my favorite things about this generation is their tenacity. I saved this paragraph from a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article I read YEARS ago: “As a life-long teacher and school administrator, I can say with confidence that this generation of students is the best I’ve worked with in my 20-year career. It remains to be seen if their talent and optimism will allow them to guide our country towards a brighter future than what older Americans predict for them, but if the future for today’s youth is bleak, you wouldn’t know it by talking to them.”
    Side note—Love your blog!

    1. Most of the Gen Y folks I work with are lazy. They complain about having to do tasks. They dont care about wasting things/just throwing thins away because they aren’t the ones who have to pay for it. They have less respect for authority. Everything is about fun. The ones who do work hard, who take their job seriously are not the norm. They exist but they are few.

      1. @Thistle – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Do you think the “laziness” issue is a recruiting problem, a cultural issue or generational? I’d love to know what the hardworking Gen Ys think might help motivate the other group. – Lindsey

        1. I work for a company that essentially only hires millenials and It has the harest working most fun culture in and company I have ever worked for. I work with quite a few millianares that are under thirty and their money alone shows they have intelligence and work ethic. the problem is one generation just wants to blame our problems on another. Look at how much millenials blame the previous generation for the current state of the economy. That’s a paradox that will probably never change.

          1. The majority of the millennials have more money due to them still living at home. For the first time since 1880, ages 18 to 34 are more likely to live at home. This is up from 46 percent a decade ago. I’d be saving a lot of money too if I still lived at home. I find the millennials I work with to be very motivated, quick thinkers, and highly intelligent. I don’t find them to be lazy at all. I’m a baby boomer and I enjoy working with them. They bring life into our organization and without them everything would stand still. Their creative minds bring so much to the table. It’s sad to think that they are labeled lazy.

        2. I personally think that the laziness exhibited by millenials is a direct result of the over-consumptiveness of their parents, namely the baby boomer generation- those who continued to design a flawed world of the industrial age that relies on exploiting the earth’s natural resources for profit and proliferation of the society. While this may seem unrelated, I think the inner psyche of the baby boomer generation spoiled millenials, which explains for so much of my generation’s laziness and disregard for etiquette and constantly giving in to desire.

          1. Touch’e to that, always thought the pampering would result in lazyness, but I gotta say I give credence to the Iraqi era Soldier, they surprised me, after Iraqi Storm I was elaited to see how they stood the challenge.

        3. I find for the most part that the perceived milenials don’t get their hands dirty. That doesn’t make them lazy…..they just find other work that avoids fiscal labor. I can’t put a percentage on it but it’s far more than my generation that would have considered such habits as lazy. Just sayin….

          1. I found this page when I googled “millenial writing”, but I still can’t find the answers I’m looking for. Hoping one of you can help me out? I was recently asked to write content “with a millenial tone”, and I will admit ignorance! What is a millenial writing style? Have any tips?

        4. Im a Millennial well into my career and I have to say, if/when I’m complaining about doing something – it’s because I’m being made to do it in a way that makes no sense to me. It’s not that I’m lazy, and inherently against doing work. I would just rather find a better way to achieve the desired outcome. In my experience we’re against doing things the same way, just becauuse it’s always been done that way, and we’re equally against doing something “Just because I said so”. We’re value motivated and if we see the value in something, we can and will attack it with tenacity.

  2. If that is all they are than I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for all of us who have been categorized. What a pity. That’s why I like being with dogs and dog owners. No one categorizes anyone. We just have fun.

  3. millenial is a broad generalization and the term gives me nausea. millenial is often used to describe a small group that of that population because they are more easily identified or standout more on social media or are so called hipsters. Only older people would use that term. What happened to the greasers,hippies, disco fever generation? They grew up. I’m sure older people looked down on all of them during their time. Every generation has it’s fads and moments that make older generations look down on them. Maybe we are old and forgot that period of time in our own lives as it becomes more distant. eventually every generation will move on to make room for another generation and “millenials” will have their turn to call the next lazy and make broad generalizations about.

    1. I completely agree–millennials are just the modern day’s term for young people.

      Older people like to separate themselves in a more positive way than younger people–it’s always been that way. Older adults in the 60’s were not calling Baby Boomers “hard workers” or suggesting that they were contributing much to society.

      Maybe there’s something about aging where we become jealous of the youth we see in some and we attack them for not living their lives or utilizing that youth in a way older people might with the existing foresight they now have.

      1. I think you have some insight with your posting Caleb. I can only speak for myself as a near 30-year old. Even as a teen in high school I would look as the “establishment” (How things are) and wonder why everyone in the world was running around acting so crazy. People get entrenched in beliefs or taught through society “how things are” when in reality how things are was just put in place by some other person or groups of persons in the past, that probably had no more insight into why the heck they were here on earth than you, and everyone takes it as gospel. I think more than anything the “millennial” generation just has a fresh look at established society and says “this could be better”. And in the terms of laziness it would be “I’m not playing your insane game”

  4. Im by the age(29) a millenial but dont identify with most of it. I work for a moving company and work 70-80 hour weeks during the summer and work 40 hour weeks the rest of the year. Everyone I work with works very hard moving peoples heavy dressers and household goods. Im not a social media fan and work hard to play drums(2 hours a day). So not all millenials are lazy some of us bust our humps with no health care or vacation pay. Eveyone says these are :entitlements but i find that most who say this have these benefits. In europe everyone gets healthcare and vaction time. Im a type one diabetic and is very expensive to take care of. No one in this country should have to choose between thier life of paying rent.

  5. I fit into the category of a millenial, I was 19 in 2015. I have read a little bit on wikipedia about this term but still I can’t understand what it means. I had heard the term before but not in person only online in a video. From my understanding it is people aged 20-35 and that’s about it. In my opinion you can’t define a generation with characteristics because everyone is different. This actually backs up your point.

  6. I don’t totally agree with you, you see Ill be twenty-five next month, and I don’t classify myself as a millennial. I refer myself to being Gen. Y, because I always asked why am I doing this or that, not to be snotty or rude but to understand why and or how I am going to do it that is what I call Gen. Y, I classy Gen. Y as people born early to late 90’s, and when I was raised, I was raised to be respectful, hardworking and never had internet and didn’t untilI was 22, and I can still live without it. Now people born in the 2000’s, I consider them millennialist or the entitled generation, because most 2000’s born children gripe and complain if they don’t get a cell phone, or they don’t get passing grades they think they deserve, or they want people to do the work for them. So as I said before, I believe people born between 1990-1999 should be considered Gen. Y, and 2000-present should be Mellenialist or the Entilted Gen.

  7. Like a typical millennial…writing on and on about pointless issues while thinking that you’re making a positive contribution to the world by doing so.


    1. And again…like a typical millennial…you won’t be able to handle criticism so you’ll block the comment. I feel bad for this generation…weak, overly concerned and unable to hold a conversation without playing with their phone.

    2. Overly concerned? Isn’t that describing yourself about this article? You’re trying to I shot it’s arthor with an I suit that is not even accurate. Don’t be a salty old man. And stop believing in sterotypes.

  8. My son was born in 1990 and is a high school teacher, as well as three of his good friends that he graduated high school with. I listen to their opinions on the students they teach and they are of the opinion that only 1/3 of the students are interested in listening to them teach. The rest would rather take an online course and consider attending classes as a waste of time.

    1. @James – Thanks so much for the comment. So, your son and his friends are Millennials and the students would be Generation Zs. I wonder if in the future, most education will be some combination of in-person and online classwork. – Lindsey

  9. I disagree with being considered a millennial. I was born in 1987. According to the information I see here and elsewhere, millennials are 18-34. I did grow up without internet. I do remember life before cell phones and wifi. This age range is far too wide. I am not a part of this generation. I count the millennials as being those born in the 90’s. We are very different. With the rapid advancement of technology generations can no longer be so wide. Plain and simple, I’m not a millennial. I’m age 28 and those at age 34 have even less in common with that generation than I do.

    1. @Scott – Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts. Needless to say, it is of course your choice how to view generational identity. I appreciate your input in the debate! – Lindsey

    2. I agree Scott. I’m 34, born in 82. I can’t figure out for the life of me how i could have anything in common with someone who was born with an iPhone in their hand.

      I grew with up with no air conditioning in our home. No Internet, computers, cell phones. 13″ box tv with 5 channels and had to mess with the antenna for 30 minutes before finally sitting down to watch it. Hell my first car didn’t even have power steering or power anything for that matter. I’m disgusted to think that I’ve been put into a group with these kids. I have way more in common with people 10 years older than me. Actually people 10 years older than me can say all those same exact things i just listed.

      1. There are plenty of people your age, though, that absolutely fit into the description of a Millennial. My husband was born in 1982 and he is the most technology obsessed person who I have ever encountered. He is constantly attached to social media and some form of screen. On other other hand, I am 4 years younger and don’t even own a cell phone. Just like there were very different people growing up in the 60s and 70s, ranging from hippies to yuppies, there are different people in this generation as well. You don’t get to decide what a generation is based on your own perception of it. In actuality, the very fact that you are so insistent that you are a special snowflake who can’t be defined makes you the perfect example of this generation.

  10. I have heard this term 3 times today and wanted to look it up. This was the first article in my search. Come to find out, I’m a person being considered a ‘Millennial’ at the age of 30. I considered myself a 90’s kid as I spent my school years in the 90’s, graduating in 2005. Millennials to me would be those who are 10 years my youth, who lived out their school years in the 2000’s. I’m a natural observer and noticed how much of a difference there is between 30 year olds and 20 year olds today. I think that’s the most dramatic age range of discovering yourself and those that are in their 20’s have different options than those of us who were 10 years advanced such as technology. We didn’t own a computer until my 5th grade year. This being said, I’m now in the technology field and intern with a local school district. Children are exposed to more information at their fingertips rather than having to actually go to a library or search through a book by page, thus altering the thinking method of how to obtain a ‘need’ in survival. Of course those who were born before my own time could very well say the same regarding my own generation.
    Environmental home life and new legislative laws have all changed within this time as well as technology. We’re making life a bit easier for ourselves which can be presumed as lazy to those who had to do the work. I suppose it’s all about how one perceives based on these qualities.
    Personally, I’m just over here trying to live with a family of our own while attending college full-time, trying to combine my passion of Photography into technology, and while making a living. Something a female couldn’t very well do decades before me but were faced with decisions of importance during that time in equivalence.
    Being called a Millennial isn’t a huge deal. Defining yet another label for a group of people is. Our generation is out to put an end to labels if you haven’t already noticed with fat shaming, sexual orientation, and race amongst the many others. We’re all just people living in a world that those before us created.
    So are we really to blame for our ‘label?’

  11. This article is pointless. The term “millennial” is used to describe a person born from the early 80s to 2000. There are bigger problems than “hurting” people’s feelings. Maybe we should be worrying about world hunger, or finding a cure for cancer.

  12. I’m 14, born in 2002, and I scored 98% Millennial. Reading through the comments, some Millennials, according to the article, do not consider themselves Millennials but 90’s kids. This leads me to think that maybe the term for “2000s kids” is Millenials. Just food for thought.

    1. @Sarah – I am currently 41 and I have been studying young professionals (aka Millennials) for 14 years. I can’t say I’m an expert on everything about Millennials, but I try to learn and share as much as I can about this generation and their career/workplace success. Thanks, Lindsey

  13. It took me reading through the whole article and all the comments to realize what you(Lindsey) meant when you said most of the millennials would rather not have a title at all, but after reading all of the opinions of others in my generation (I was born in ’91) I see what you meant. I would rather not have a title and I do think it’s ridiculous to group everyone of a certain age group as lazy or even technologically dependent.
    I do think maybe we should drop the whole generation x boom y z millennial ect and just start using birth years? Everyone would be on the same page at least even though it’s still stereotyping.
    I can see why you study this, it’s very psychologically interesting without getting too personal.

  14. If “millenials” are supposed to include those who don’t know what it was like without the Internet (“digital natives”) then the term MUST be revised to EXCLUDE anyone born in the 80’s, or at least the early 90’s. As someone born in 1980, I got my first email address when I was 16, my first cell phone when I was a sophomore in college. We remember very well what it was like to grow up outside the digital age, with landlines and answering machines, and even pre-caller ID! Those of us born in the early 80s are actually part of the LAST generation who remembers what life was like WITHOUT digital access to everything, etc.

    1. Lol. Just thought this comment was ended a little ignorant. Just because you were born in the early 80’s does not make you “the LAST generation who remembers what life was like WITHOUT digital access to everything”. I was born in 1992 and did not even have a cell phone or internet until I was 16 years old. Yes I had used a computer in elementary school because they wanted us to learn, but I grew up playing with Lite Brite, Etch-A-Sketch, a Slinky, a skipping rope, Barbies, crazy carpets in winter, rollerblades.. Shall I go on? I did not “depend” on technology what-so-ever until high school. So keep that in your brain next time you think you’re the last one who remembers life before it.

  15. well im not very ‘millenial’ at all i scored 17, im aged 28. after seeing that the questions were mostly related to technology im not surprised by my score as im not a tech addict at all, i can take it or leave it. i can go days without even looking at my mobile phone im very much ‘old fashioned’ in that sense and crave the ‘simple’ days before the tech minded world we now live in where as a kid you played outside from morning til night, made dens in the woods and climbed trees. i might have grew up in the nineties but i didn’t grow up with technology, i don’t remember having computers at school or home until i was in my second last year of primary school (aged 11-12) and they were very basic no internet or anything. i must say i completely agree with absolutely everything the above commenter has said in that i also think that the term should be revised to exclude anyone born in the eighties and maybe early nineties. to me a millenial is someone born mid to late nineties onwards who doesn’t remember a time before technology, the internet etc. i do worry for my children growing up with the dangers of the internet and knowing the kind of things that are at kids fingertips these days. we were all taught about ‘stranger danger’ growing up but nowadays parents have the added worry of the unseen stranger the online predator aswell. oh how i wish my children were growing up in different times. i have found this article very interesting

  16. just wanted to add, isn’t it interesting how other posters the same age as me scored high with 93 and above and i scored low, 17 just goes to show we don’t all necessarily fit the millenial ‘sterotype’

  17. These Millennials spend too much time thinking about themselves. I really don’t care to be giving them a participation trophy or a star for showing up to work on time. They are exhausting me. They are young people who need to contribute to society.

  18. Let’s consider,maybe,calling millennials as youngsters of this age!?:) Personally,i do not carry a negative connotation,for all intents and purposes,of these youngsters.i believe they just happen to be born in an era and in a climate where parents may be more liberal in their parenting style and may be much have more financial resources as well as being in a period of where high technology exist and for which they seem to have this ability to easily learn and use them,though not necessarily in the smartest of ways land which enable them to have less “physical” activity or motivation.Guess,there will always be the negatives and positives in every thing and everyone.perhaps,the only difference would be,what would matter to you most?by the way,i am Gen X born to parents of the world war2era, if ever that counts for something.Still,i guess,no matter the time you existed,it would be nice to strive to be an excellent human being?

  19. Why are people blaming the boomers on a millennial’s laziness? It does not matter the generation, you were raised from. It matters how you are raised as an individual. I am a boomer, my parents raised us on a farm/ranch. we had to work hard, the first four of seven children were raised this way, the last three were moved off this farm, the last three never had the same mind set of having to do chores every day to keep a farm going. They did not work as hard and are still not functioning on their own. Where the four oldest have homes , jobs and retirement saved for. The last three have drug issues are unable to support themselves, and have to rely on society and the state for income, all the result from the change in enviroment, peer groups, and rules and work ethic, and hence my parents, parenting skills also changed. I raised my children the same way, the first four of us were raised, to be responsible, work hard get an education. One is a physical therapist, and the other is in her second year of med school. Both are millennials. And very politically active. It is all about parenting skills not the mind set of a generation. My kids never had anything handed down to them, they had to earn their privileges. Get a job in their senior year in high school. Learn to build a savings account. They were taught that they would be going to college at a very young age, it was never if you decide to go, it was where are you going. It was not shoved down their throats it was just the mindset, taught as we have taught the all other crucial lessons in life. Taught that there is repercussions for poor decisions, and they are responsible for those decisions. And I know my grandchildren will be learning these same values.

  20. I always find this age bracket interesting. I’m part of the “millennial” group. I was born in 1985 (31 years old). While I certainly have grown in adulthood with technology, social media, and techy gadgets, these devices certainly were not part of my “growing up”. Heck, my first computer was in Junior High school, and it was an old Apple computer that could only be used to play “lemonade stand” and the “Oregon trail”. The internet was not being used at that point (at least not in the area that I grew up in). Cell phones / text messaging didn’t become popular until I was in college. Facebook didn’t exist until I was in college. By that time–I had done most of my “growing”. I have grown up literally in both “generations”. Honestly, it matters not to me whether I am called a millennial or not. What is agitating is that people generalize that millennials are lazy, unsuccessful and disconnected. Truthfully, I have my “stuff” more together than many baby-boomers that I know. Furthermore, so do most of my “millennial” friends.

  21. Will the real Millennials please stand up! Supposedly, the term is reserved for people born between 1981 and 1997. However, if you listen to talk radio or media in general, it seems that the term is only applied to the absolute youngest of Millennials or even to young children. For example, the education director of the school where I work as a teacher seemed surprised to find out that I was in fact a Millennial and the kids we teach in the school are not old enough to be Millennials. For this reason, I am uncomfortable with the term in general. Besides, what massive similarities does a 30 year old have in common with an 18 year old? Both are Millennials, but age and life experience greatly shape an individual.

  22. I’m in the later wave of Gen Y – actually the tail end and I wouldn’t say we are digital natives that is reserved for Gen Z. All of Gen Y remembers a time before the internet and smart phones. I remember having to go to the library to do research in actual books. The problem here is that the latter half of Gen Y was raised in a time when technology was advancing rapidly in a very short period of time and we were young enough to learn along with it with roughly the same speed; but we still have memories of playing outside, being home by the time the street lights came on, playing unorganized sports, reading real paper books, etc. Since technology advanced so rapidly in a short period of time Gen Y is nostalgic for simpler times without technology ruling our lives. We grew up with the American dream being told that we could be anything if we worked hard enough – but then the housing bubble burst and we went into a recession. That American dream is now just a twinkle in our eye because we work hard and we’re under paid or not paid at all and can barely make rent for a tiny almost unlivable apartment. Gen Y is bitter because we were told to dream and work hard so we did but he have little to show for it.

  23. I was born in 2002 but I consider myself a 90’s kid at times. I mean most “Millenials” (2000-2004) are the people who beg and get phones before 5th grade. I just got my phone for Christmas and it’s not the smart phone. I don’t even need a smart phone to be honest I just like them because of Nes, Snes, N64, and GBA emulators. While most of the “Millenials” prefer the new Call of Duty and only play games because of the graphics. I only play the games by how much fun they are not by graphics. I always try my best in school and to respect my elders.

  24. Complete BS, all of it! How does anyone box an entire group of people into these small undefined and limited boxes? I do t understand myself how someone my age (39 years old, and barely what you’d consider a gen’ xer, born in 1978) could even remotely be grouped in with those groups of people who were born at the turn of the century. Everything about those seperate time periods were different. Those times (1978-1990) were a complete 180 from the technology, social norms, music, art, and culture of 2000. In my case, I didn’t even know what the internet even was until I was about 20 years old, and that was in 1998. I did t even own a computer until 2001, nor a cell phone until 2002. I had already served 5 years in the Army by this point, and some of you social engineering types are trying to say that I might possibly belong in the same cohort of youth as someone who had just been born during this time? Complete nonsense!

    1. I’m at the last end of the baby boomers (1962) and I have a millennial at the last end (1995). I too have been corrected as I was using the word millennium. Thanks so much. Good article and comments. Recruiting to a specific age group and/or only hiring a specific age group is likely discrimination based on age and is illegal if you exclude people over 40. ADEA. Focus recruiting and hiring on finding people who can perform the job duties required. Surely that can be done. Sorry if this has already been said.

  25. My apologies in advance for the below questions. 🙂

    Can I understand that Millenials are those born between between 1981 and 1997 ?
    Will they always remain ‘Millenial’?

    1. @Ahmed – That is correct. According to Pew Research Center (although other organizations use a different year range), Millennials were born between 1981 – 1997. And yes, this name will be applied to the people born in those years for their entire lives, just as we’ve seen with the Baby Boomers. Thanks – Lindsey

  26. when i think of millennial, i do think of those who believe they are entitled. of course i can’t speak for all of them, but from the ones i have come across. the world is different now and it’s not their fault. they google something and believe it to be true. born in the 70’s, we had to research, go to a library, etc etc. we were more social and it was a better time. people view vacations through cell phones. while at home they text and surf what others are eating for dinner on facebook. it’s so disconnected. granted, people older are not. i’m a tech geek of 25 years and i rarely look at my phone. i love technology as a tool and not a crutch.

  27. Can someone please explain to me when the generation dates changed. As children my sister’s were considered the tail end of generation x and I was considered part of when they called generation “me” (or I suppose now it would be called xennial) then all of a sudden…. BOOM we are all apparently the millennial generation? So, when did the dates change for this? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. @Michelle – I understand your confusion. There are a lot of different definitions out there about generational age ranges. In fact, my most trusted source, Pew Research Center, just changed their definition of Millennial. I think the best approach is to look at the date ranges and then apply your own feelings about which generation, if any, feels applicable to you. Thanks for commenting! Lindsey

  28. Why do people believe pew research when it comes to cutoffs. Their reasons for their cut-offs recently can’t even be based on facts. They talk about trump like it has something to do with it and they believe people born right after 96 can’t have a emotional relation with things like 9/11. I know somebody born in 98 who was very affected by 9/11 emotionally. The researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss have been doing research since the 90s and they put the cutoff year starting somewhere within 2000-2004 with a lot of good research that can easily prove Pew’s assumptions wrong. Pew’s reasons go against everything what they have been doing for years. Pew research just changed their reasons again and people are so quick to say it’s the right one. To be honest this stuff shouldn’t even exist. About 30 years ago this stuff didn’t even exist and now it got everybody believing that things like cutoff and labels between people are truthful. Why don’t we see each other as one group with all different backgrounds and lifestyles. Nobody lives exactly the same way and experience things differently than others so how can you any of this be actually true.

  29. I am a Baby Boomer who spent the last five years working with and under people in the age range associated with the Millennial generation. Millennials get a bad rap. Mostly from the baby boomers and beyond. It’s because they work differently. They aren’t lazy, they are more efficient. If they can find a quicker more efficient way of doing it, they will, even if it goes against the company rules. I also don’t believe they are “entitled”. Just like all of us, they want things. They work hard for less pay then we did at their age and get less. They want to be paid more so they can have stuff. Just like the Baby Boomers. Boomer College Graduates could anticipate triple digit salaries with the right degree. Currently companies have all gone to call centers, calling them careers and paying half what Boomers could get. They just want the same. I also think they are way more innovative and creative. It could be a result of having been raised on technology. Things move quickly and so do they. They work well in teams and yes, they do like to have fun. Who doesn’t and what’s wrong with that. They have never had to go to war, experience a depression or some of the major struggles our forefathers did while growing up. Their parents got divorced at a rapid rate and so marriage is not a high priority. They are smarter than Boomers and more highly educated. I think we all need to get up to speed and jump on board. Millennial a great generation with great ideas.

  30. I know this is an older article but I just found it, but the only reason I hate the term Millennial is because of all the negativity that centers around it. I personally don’t even relate to the younger millennials. I do know what it was like to grow up without technology and I was born in 87. I mean I was the very definition of a 90s child but it’s not like I was always glued to some sort of device. We got a computer when I was about 7ish but I didn’t use it much because there was no internet and it got boring quick playing in paint shop. I spent most of my time outside as a kid. I was always on my bike riding to a friend’s house. Everyone seems to blame us for everything even though things now are very different than they were when they were growing up. The same generation that gives us all of the blame is usually the same generation that raised us. I personally was raised by a baby boomer as my mom was in her early 40s when she had me (she was born in 45) so I was raised a little differently than maybe some of the other “millennials”. I actually fit more in with the “Xennial” crowd even though the cutoff year for that seems to usually hang around 84 although personally, I think the cutoff should be towards the end of the 80s really. Even a 10-year gap makes a difference when you are talking about “millennials” because things really did become different the further you get into the generation. Those born in 96 were only 4 when the 90s ended and only 5 when 9/11 happened and don’t have the recollection those of us that are older have of that time. It makes a big difference. I get tired of hearing about how we are the “entitled” generation. I don’t feel entitled to anything. Most of us don’t. As for what I would prefer to be called…I can’t fully answer that, maybe just drop millennial altogether and go back to calling us Gen Y. Millennial seems to have more of a negative spin than what Gen Y did, albeit those negatives comments started with Y but seemed to spiral out of control with the term millennial. A lot of people don’t seem to realize is one in the same. Depending on who you ask you will definitely get a different answer but I feel like most of the older “millennials” tend to hate the term more than the younger ones from my experience but I’m sure there are exceptions to that rule. I personally don’t relate much to most of the younger “millennials” but again I am sure there are exceptions.

  31. Though millennial’s tend to have a bad reputation, I am quite proud to identify as such. Why? I feel like my generation is composed of two groups – those who are misinformed and complacent with the current state of the political and economic challenges unique to us (I live in the USA, if that helps to clarify), and those who are beginning to fight back. A generation who has particularly “railed against” millennials are the baby boomers, a time which saw appropriate living wages and attainability of the “American dream”, a generation who was not being offered a poverty level wage after graduating college and having spent A LOT in that investment. We are a generation of science, and knowledge, because of the growth in technology we have seen, but a generation that was not born into the advancements (such as phone GPS, FaceTime, internet on cell phones, etc.) Instead, we have watched these things come to be. We are a generation of greater capability than ever before, but unfortunately, a generation where many are victims of misinformation steadily being fed to us by our leaders. I have hope for this generation, and see it as the generation of change. This is how I define my generation, not as “entitled” and “narcissistic”.

  32. I’m from 1998, and some really believe I’m a Z. One of my first memories is where I was on 9/11 (It’s not very clear, however), I remember the VERY tail end of the Web 1.0 era (2004) and the VHS era (The last Hollywood and Disney VHS releases were in 2006). I didn’t have a cell phone until I was in middle school (It was a flip phone).

    Yeah, I’m not buying it.

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