Millennial myths vs. realities

In five infographics, we uncover a few eye-opening opinions about the generation that grew up in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks and the Great Recession.

The author(s)
  • Melissa Dunne Public Affairs
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You don’t hear much about Millennial* snowflakes anymore.

While Millennial has long been shorthand for young the reality is the oldest of this cohort are now over 40. And as this generation has aged the stereotype that they’re all fragile, egotistical snowflakes has mostly melted away.

No generation is a static monolith.

And as Millennials inch closer to middle age, Ipsos’ new global report, We Need to Talk About Generations, dives much deeper into what does and doesn’t set them apart from Generation Zers, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers.

With Millennials increasingly looking towards both their peak earning and childrearing years we scratch beneath the surface of some of our recent Global Advisor polling to find some timely takeaways into the generation that can vividly remember the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre collapsing in 2001 and the global economy being brought to its knees during the Great Recession from 2007-2009.

  1. Myth:
    Despite coming of age during the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression, Millennials fritter their money away on avocado toast instead of worrying about their economic present and future.

    Reality:
    During this era of sticky inflation, about 1 in 3 Millennials are quite squeezed – similar to other people across the age spectrum.

    The July 2023 edition of Ipsos’ monthly Global Consumer Confidence Index finds 33% of Millennials, on average across 29 economies, rate their current financial situation as weak, pretty much in line with Boomers (35%), Gen Xers (37%) and Gen Zers (32%).

    And almost two in five (19%) Millennials predict their financial situation will get weaker in the next six months, versus 15% of Gen Zers, 24% of Gen Xers and 26% of Boomers.Ipsos | Millennials

  2. Myth:
    All Millennials announce their preferred pronouns any chance they get and are just as liberal as their younger Gen Z peers when it comes to sexuality and gender identity.

    Reality:
    Millennials don’t appear to be quite as loud and proud as their younger Gen Z peers.

    While some Millennials were born and raised in societies that were less conservative than the ones their parents and grandparents grew up in, like other older generations the percentage who self-identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community is notably less than that of Gen Zers.Ipsos | Millennials

  3. Myth:
    When laws and culture started to shift in some countries a few decades ago, Boomer/Gen X parents got divorced in droves and this tainted their Millennial kids’ views on romantic love.

    Reality:
    Despite some Gen Zers and Millennials seeing their parents divorce, younger people are more optimistic than older people about finding and maintaining long-term romantic relationships.

    About one in four (26%, on average across 32 countries) of Millennials think it will be easier for single people to find a romantic partner or spouse over the next decade, compared to 30% of Gen Zers, 18% of Gen Xers and only 12% of Boomers.

    Meanwhile, a similar percentage of Millennials (26%) and Gen Zers (27%) think it’ll get easier for married couples to maintain a happy relationship over the next decade (vs. 18% of Gen Xers and a mere 10% of Boomers).Ipsos | Millennials

  4. Myth:
    Modern Millennials overwhelmingly support same-sex marriage, while older (and “old-fashioned”) generations are vehemently against the idea.

    Reality:
    There’s no gigantic generation gap here as there’s pretty steady support, and opposition, for same-sex marriage across age groups.

    Ipsos’ recent Pride Month polling finds 56%, on average across 32 countries, of Millennials agree same-sex couples should be allowed to marry legally, in line with  Gen Xers (55%) and Boomers (55%) but a bit lower than Gen Zers’ (61%) support level.

    On the flipside, pretty similar proportions of all generations (12% Gen Zers, 15% of Millennials, 14% of Gen Xers and 13% of Boomers) think same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry or obtain any kind of legal recognition.Ipsos | Millennials

  5. Myth:
    A lot of Millennials can recall wasting their youth posting on the 1.0/2.0 versions of social media platforms, first on desktops and later on smartphones, and thus they overwhelmingly trust companies providing these devices and services.

    Reality:
    There’s some truth to this myth. Millennials are more likely to say they trust social media companies (25%, on average across 21 countries), compared to just 15% of Boomers —who reached the middle of their lives before these online platforms were unleashed on the world.

     

    Meanwhile, Ipsos’ annual Global Trustworthiness Monitor, finds very little difference between Millennials and other generations’ trust levels of technology companies.Ipsos | Millennials

The author(s)
  • Melissa Dunne Public Affairs

Society