Young adults today, often called the millennial generation, are more likely to be foreign born and speak a language other than English at home, compared with young adults in 1980, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest statistics from theAmerican Community Survey released today.
“Many of the differences between generations examined within these latest data reflect long-term demographic and societal changes,” said Jonathan Vespa, a Census Bureau demographer. “Three decades of decennial census statistics combined with the latest American Community Survey statistics give us a unique view of how — and where — our nation is changing. In this case, we can look at the changing characteristics of young adults over the last few decades.”
Five years of data collected between 2009 and 2013 provide statistics on more than 40 economic, housing and social topics, such as commuting, educational attainment and home value. As the nation’s largest ongoing household survey, the American Community Survey produces statistics at all levels of geography, down to the block group level. Today, for the first time users can access block group level statistics on the census.gov tool rather than via a separate FTP site.
Highlighting some of the topics available from the American Community Survey, the Census Bureau released “Young Adults: Then and Now,” a new edition of the interactive mapping tool Census Explorer. The tool illustrates characteristics of the young adult population (age 18-34) across the decades using data from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 Censuses and the 2009-2013 American Community Survey. The American Community Survey, which is a part of the decennial census, replaced the “long form” questionnaire soon after the 2000 Census.
The 73 million young adults currently 18 to 34 years old, often referred to as millennials, comprised the largest such population in the last three decades. Nonetheless, their share of the population is actually smaller today than in 1980, when the young adult population included the baby boomers born between1946 and 1964. The baby boom is distinguished by a dramatic increase in birth rates following World War II and comprises one of the largest generations in U.S. history.
More millennials are living in poverty today, and they have lower rates of employment, compared with their counterparts in 1980:
Millennials are more educated than young adults in 1980:
Unlike in prior generations, the majority of millennials have never been married, reflecting continued delays in getting married:
Some things have not changed:
Note that the Census Bureau does not define generational terms beyond “baby boom generation.” The term “millennial” is used here only to reference the 18-34 age range used in Census Bureau statistics.
“Young Adults: Then and Now” in Census Explorer
Young Adults: Then and Now looks at socioeconomic characteristics of 18- to 34-year-olds using the 2009-2013 American Community Survey and the 2000, 1990 and 1980 Censuses. The interactive data tool has estimates for the national, state, metropolitan, county and neighborhood (census tract) level.
- Total population
- Percent non-Hispanic white alone
- Percent minority (Note: “Minority” refers to people who reported their ethnicity and race as a group other than non-Hispanic white alone)
- Year-round, full-time median earnings
- Percent living in poverty
- Percent employed
- Percent foreign born
- Percent with a bachelor’s degree or higher
- Percent veterans
- Percent language other than English spoken at home
- Percent never married
- Percent living in their parents’ home
- Percent living alone
- Percent of workers who drove or carpooled