Millennials: A Worldwide Analysis of Their Living Arrangements and Spatial Distribution

Joan Garcia Roman, Centre d''Estudis Demogràfics
Antonio Lopez-Gay, Center for Demographic Studies (Barcelona)

The Millennials generation has attracted significant interest of the media during the last years. They are considered the new great generation and have shown behavioral patterns and attitudes that differ notably to the ones of previous generation, such baby boomers or the silent generation.

From a demographic perspective, Millennials are displaying behavioral patterns that differ from previous generations. In terms of life cycle and living arrangements, these patterns are mostly characterized by a delay in the main transitions to the adult life and a postponement of the age at entry to the labor market, in union, marriage or having the first child. There is also evidence that Millennials are changing the residential preferences during, at least, the first years of adulthood: while previous generations chose to live in suburban contexts, Millennials show a remarkable preference for urban cores.

The increasing interest in the Millennials is remarkably noticeable in general media and press but approaches from the academia are much more limited. So far, the topic has focused in the case of United States and there are few studies about their conducts in other countries. Our paper aims to fulfill this gap and to provide empirical evidence about the demographic behavioral patterns of Millennials from a cross national perspective in two main aspects: (i) their living arrangements and transitions into adulthood and (ii) their spatial preferences in urban areas. To achieve this goal, we will use census data of 20 countries from Europe and the Americas. From these countries we have data for the 1990, 2000 and 2010 rounds (from the IPUMS-International database) that allow us to compare Millennials with previous generations.


The Millennials generation has attracted significant interest of the media during the last years. Although there is not a strict designation of this cohort, also known as Generation Me or Generation Y, they refer those who arrived to the adult life in the turn of the 21th century, taking the cohort born after 1982 (Howe & Strauss, 2000). They are considered the new great generation (Twenge 2006; Howe & Strauss, 2000) and have shown behavioral patterns and attitudes that differ notably to the ones of previous generation, such baby boomers or the silent generation. Millennials consider themselves as a special group and they are also confident and optimistic (Kaifi, 2012). They are also considered to be more tolerant and open to new social norms (Twenge 2006; ). Moreover, Millennials are more likely to have a higher education as a consequence of the educational expansion. Finally, a determinant point to characterize Millennials is their access and involvement in technologies and social networks which has brought them to be considered as natives in a society that is dominated by the current technology (Kowske, Rasch, & Wiley, 2010; Prensky, 2000).

From a demographic perspective, Millennials are displaying behavioral patterns that differ from previous generations. In terms of life cycle and living arrangements, these patterns are mostly characterized by a delay in the main transitions to the adult life and a postponement of the age at entry to the labor market, in union, marriage or having the first child (Pew Review Center, 2010). In that sense, the high educational attainment of Millennials, which represents more years in school, might be having an effect in those transitions. Moreover, the transition to adult life of Millennials have occurred in a recessive economic context that might have difficult some of these transitions. In that sense, we can argue that some of the behavior observed could be a consequence of an adaptation to the constraints of the current context instead of a real change in norms and attitudes. There is also evidence that Millennials are changing the residential preferences during, at least, the first years of adulthood: while previous generations chose to live in suburban contexts, Millennials show a remarkable preference for urban cores (Moos, Pfeiffer and Vinodrai, 2017).

The increasing interest in the Millennials is remarkably noticeable in general media and press but approaches from the academia are much more limited. So far, the topic has focused in the case of United States and there are few studies about their conducts in other countries. Our paper aims to fulfill this gap and to provide empirical evidence about the demographic behavioral patterns of Millennials from a cross national perspective in two main aspects: (i) their living arrangements and transitions into adulthood and (ii) their spatial preferences in urban areas. To achieve this goal, we will use census data of 20 countries from Europe and the Americas. From these countries we have data for the 1990, 2000 and 2010 rounds (from the IPUMS-International databasse) in order to compare Millennials with previous generations.

References

Howe, Nail; Strauss, William (2000). Millennials Rising. The Next Great Generation. Vintage Group.

Kaifi, Belal; Nafei, Wageeh; Khanfar, Nile; Kaifi, Maryam (2012) “A multi-generational workforce: Managing and understanding Millennials”. International Journal of Business and Management, 7 (24): 88-93.

Kowske, B.; Rasch, R.; Wiley, J. (2010) “Millenniais'' (Lack of) Attitude Problem: An Empirical Examination of Generational Effects onWork Attitudes”. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25 (2) 265-279.

Markus Moos, Deirdre Pfeiffer, Tara Vinodrai (2017) The Millennial City. Trends, Implications, and Prospects for Urban Planning and Policy. Routledge.

Pew Research Center (2010). Millennials. Portrait of Generation Next. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2010/10/millennials-confident-connected-open-to-change.pdf

Presnky, M. (2005). “Engage me or enrage me: What today’s learners demand”. EDUCAUSE, 5: 60–64.

Twenge, J. (2006). Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled–and More Miserable Than Ever Before. Free Press.

Presented in Session 1236: Families and Households