In the past, generations have been named in the 20th century to delineate certain qualities and values of people of different ages. My parents are known as the “Baby Boomers,” the generation born after World War 2 into domestic stability and economic prosperity in the United States. Subsequently Generation X arrived after 1965 and continued into the early 1980s. My father likes to often analyze this generation for their “yuppie” lifestyles and disrespect for authority. Then around 1980 a new generation began, known as the Millennials. This is my generation.

The Millennials are a generation of people who were raised in a society where computer technology evolved at the speed of light. Personally, I grew up in a world where computers were used in kindergartens, all my assignments were typed and printed, and always had access to the Internet from the time I learned to read. Technology has always been a part of my life, and I have accepted the evolution of the computer since the early 1990s to the laptop on which I am writing this blog in 2010.

The Pew Research Center posted on its website a study about the millennial generation entitled “Millennials: A Portrait of a Generation”. The Pew Research Center writes that this generation is confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat, and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.” I would agree with this statement as a millennial youth and as an individual person. I find that many people of my generation are open to exploring new ideas, especially ones that concern technology. Career changes are expected of us more than 4 times in our lives, not just job changes but changes of actual industries! I think that many of us have a self-expressive nature, due to the internet content that we create such as blogs, YouTube videos, photo sharing, and various social networking sites to which we belong.

According to the study, 45.9 million American citizens belong to the Millennial generation, which is categorized as people 18-28 living in the United States in 2009. This is the largest generation by far according to this survey, and perhaps it will have the most power to influence the world in the next 10-20 years. In addition, of those 45.9 million people, only 63% are employed in the United States labor force, many in college or unemployed due to the recent economic recession. One exciting piece of news in this data is that 20% of the women in this generation have completed four or more years of college. This is the highest number of female college graduation rates of any previous generation, Generation X having 15% of its women earn a bachelor’s degree or higher.

There is a quiz below the statistical data on the web page of the Pew Research Center that asks “How Millennial Are You?” I scored a score of 75 out of 100, which ranked me as a “millennial” as opposed to a generation x, boomer, or silent. The questions consisted of subjects such as cell phone use, television, text messaging, social networking and other technologies and ideas associated with the generation. I guess my answer about reading a print publication daily and not playing video games gave me a lower score and made me less of a millennial? Take the quiz for yourself and see where you rank!

A synthesized report on the study shows that 75% of Millennials belong to a social networking site. I belong to Facebook and LinkedIn, so I guess I fit the description pretty well. It also mentions that 83% of Millennials “sleep” with their cell phone i.e. the cell phone is on and nearby at all times when they sleep. I confess to sometimes sleeping with the phone under my pillow because I fall asleep texting, so this describes me again. Another statistic shows that 54% of Millennials live in a suburban town, which again describes my life.

This report as well as the next reports about the older generations and how they are categorized show the trends and generational gaps between the old and the young. What will they call the next generation? I can only guess.

View the Report at the Pew Research Center