Only 7 percent of women from the Silent generation had completed at least a bachelor’s degree when they were of comparable age. In comparison, nearly three-in-ten (27 percent) of contemporary young adult women have earned one.
You’ve come a long way, young adults, ages 18-33. You are better educated and more ethnically diverse than your grandparents. But you are also more detached from political parties, religion, the military and marriage.
These are the findings of a new Pew Research Center report that compares today’s Millennials with previous generations dating back to the so-called Silent generation, who today with be in their 70s and 80s.
Young adults have made prodigious academic gains compared to the Silent Generation, Pew finds. Among Only 7 percent of women from the Silent generation had completed at least a bachelor’s degree when they were of comparable age. In comparison, nearly three-in-ten (27 percent) of contemporary young adult women have earned one.
Millennial men, too, are better educated than their forebears. Twenty-one percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with only 12 percent of their Silent generation counterparts. But whereas young adult men from the Silent generation were more likely than women to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, that is reversed today.
Not surprisingly, Millennial women are much more likely than Silent generation women to be working (83 percent vs. 38 percent), while roughly 70 percent of Millennials have remained single. this is more than double the number of Silent generation men and women who had never been married.
Young adult men in 1963 were 10 times more likely to be military veterans than Millennials are today, despite that contemporary young adults came of age when American was engaged in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The number of young men serving in the active-duty military has decreased drastically since the establishment of an all-volunteer force in 1973, Pew reports.
Millennials have come of age in a much more racially diverse America. Last year, fewer than six-in-ten Millennials were non-Hispanic whites, compared with 78 percent of young adults from the Silent generation. The share who are Hispanic is nearly three times as large among Millennials as among Silents (21 percent vs. 8 percent). The shares that are black, Asian or another race, or races, have also increased.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.