Millennials Are Now the Largest Generation and Their Impact on the Economy is Evolving


Millennials dominate all the talk about economic trends. Given their size, that makes sense.  As Millennials age, their preferences will help drive the business decisions of much of the economy.  Knowing what they want will be a major concern for decades to come.

Like every generation before them, Millennials have their own identity, formed by their age and the economic opportunities they are afforded.  And, as always, their tastes, demand for goods and services, housing preferences, marriage and family formation patterns, and overall impact on the economy will evolve as they move through their life cycle.  

So, who are the Millennials? The authors who coined the term, William Strauss and Neil Howe, considered those born between 1982 and 2004 as being part of the generation.  The starting and ending points are open to debate, so I assume Millennials are those currently in their late teens to mid-thirties.  

Sign Up for E-News

Based on population, Millennials are now our largest generation.  They make up about one-quarter of the population, with Boomers accounting for just a little less.  In between, the GenXers constitute just over 20% of the population.  When it comes to population size, the three major generational groups are similar. However, the relative importance of Millennials will increase as the Boomers pass on.  

Not surprisingly, Millennials currently are behaving differently than previous generations.  On the housing front, a significantly larger percentage of Millennials are still living at home compared to GenXers.  Nevertheless, according to Trulia, more than 90% expect to buy a house.

Millennials are marrying, on average, nearly seven years later than did Boomers, and having children about five years later, according to Goldman Sachs.  But more than 70% expect to get married and three-quarters want children.  

Because of that lateness in household formation, when Millennials move into the more traditional family-forming period, there could be a large surge in housing demand.   

Millennials now prefer renting to buying, and it is unclear when or if they will start buying homes at the pace of previous generations.  The recession, slow recovery, and massive cost of education have made Millennials financially insecure.  They are still early in their earnings life cycle, but their median income, as a percentage of total income, is lower than previous generations. The depressed incomes and greater student debt are making it difficult for Millennials to save and purchase homes. 

Looking forward, Millennials are likely to take their more typical place in the economy.  In five years, Millennials will be in their early twenties to forty and their lifestyles will have changed.  They will have started marrying, having families and, hopefully, even moved out their parents’ houses.  They will be well along in paying off their student debt.  Millennials should be transitioning into the sweet spot in their careers for earnings.  

And the lesson that holds for businesses is that conditions are changing. What you see now, when it comes to Millennial spending, is not likely to be anything close to what it will look like in the middle of the next decade.  So start planning for that new world now.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Tue, July 17, 10:00 AM

Healing the Children, new providence

Summit Old Guard

Giving Back

Fri, August 10, 6:00 PM

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison

Downtown Concert Series: Mama D & The Vexations

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, September 30, 8:00 AM

College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown

Walk to Fight Alzheimer's

Giving Back Health & Wellness

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, July 9 – Sunday, July 15, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend


Our summer program is in full swing.  This week we are starting some of our most popular children’s programs, Chess for Kids and sewing classes with Miss Polly.  Children will also enjoy a visit from a special guest, Queen Maria Isabella from Medieval Times.  Teens ...

Longtime Chatham Resident Passes the Torch to Current Residents

July 13, 2018

To the Editor,

I moved to Chatham from Ohio in 1961 and left just over a year or so ago. My daughters went through the school system and one of them still lives there with her son.

Clearly, we found the Library and local educational opportunities to our liking. 

When it came to giving back to the community, I chose to support the Library and served as a Board member for 15 ...

Chatham Residents Corry, Garavente, Myler, Radigan and Robbins are 2018 Graduates of Loyola University Maryland

July 14, 2018

BALTIMORE, MD -- Loyola University Maryland recognized the class of 2018 at its 166th Commencement Exercises on May 19, 2018, which included Chatham residents Bridget Corry, who received a BA degree in Communication; Elizabeth Garavente, who received a BBA degree in Business Administration; Jacqueline Myler, who received a BA degree in Communication; Leigh Radigan, who received a ...

5 Things You Should Know About Your Air Conditioner

How an air conditioner works

Air conditioners use refrigeration to cool indoor air. When a liquid converts to a gas, it absorbs heat. This process is called phase conversion. Air conditioners use phase conversion by forcing refrigerants to evaporate and condense over and over in a closed system of coils. 

What air conditioner filters do

Filters remove particles from the air, keeping ...