Millennial Makeover: Myspace, Youtube, and the Future of American Politics

By Morley Winograd; Michael D. Hais | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

Meet the Millennials

A NEW GENERATION ARRIVES on the scene about once every twenty years, and every time it does, older generations struggle to understand how “these kids today” think and behave.While every generation is unique, many of the clues to understanding its members' behavior can be found by taking a longer historical view and noting recurring patterns of child rearing and parental attitudes toward their children, which play such an important role in establishing each individual's belief system. Of course, not every member of any given generation exhibits the archetypical behavior of their cohort, but survey and aggregate data do reveal clear behavioral tendencies that define a given generation. So, too, does the popular culture's portrayal of young people and their parents, a favorite subject of both television sitcoms and movies. Looking at both the social research data and media portrayals of each generation helps to draw a clear picture of Millennials and how they differ from Baby Boomers and Generation X.


MILLENNIALS ARE A LOT LIKE
THEIR GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

The Millennial Generation was born in the years 1982 to 2003. Millennials are the children of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, but in many key respects they are more like their GI Generation (Tom Brokaw's “Greatest Generation”) grandparents and great-grandparents than they are like their own parents. The parallels between the Millennial Generation and the GI Generation (born in the years 1901 to 1924) provide us a glimpse into how Millennials might influence America and its future.

Millennials are the largest and most racially diverse generation of Americans ever. About 40 percent of Millennials are of African American,

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