Millennials are living in urban enviroments and don't need the quantity shopping opportunity Costco offers.
By the luck of the draw, people born before the turn of the millennium got a really cool nickname for their generation – the Millennials.
Because they were born to Baby Boomers, who lived through one of the most economically generous periods in American history, Millennials seemed to have had an easier time growing up than older generations.
And because they are reversing the trend of living in suburbia to moving back to urban America, Millennials are developing a reputation that actually can hurt the American economy if it holds true:
Millennials are not joiners.
Currently ranging in age from 18 (born in 1996) to 33 (born in 1981), Millennials are definitely a different breed of cat than the Gen Xers before them or the Baby Boomers who brought them into the world.
According to a new study by Pew Research. 50 percent of Millennials (also now being referred to as the Unaffiliated) now consider themselves politically independent despite the country’s rising tide of political fragmentation. Only 39 percent of Gen Xers say they are politically independent, and 37 percent of Boomers describe themselves that way.
Similar differences were reported by Pew in regards to religious affiliation. While 16 percent of Boomers consider themselves “religiously unaffiliated”, 29 percent of Millennials describe themselves as unattached to a particular religion.
In the case of both politics and religion, Millennials’ level of unattachment are record highs for Pew Research, which has been asking these questions for 25 years.
Millennials are also not joining together – in matrimony. Among the age group described by Pew, only 26 percent are married, while at the same age, 36 percent of Gen Xers were married and 48 percent of Baby Boomers had tied the knot.
There are financial implications to all of these living patterns, with the marriage statistic perhaps the most dramatic.
There are more unmarried Millennials than there were in any other age group when that age group was between the ages of 18 and 33. Single people tend to live in urban areas and eschew the suburban lifestyle.
For married people in the suburbs, one of their favorite pursuits is shopping at big box stores like Costco, but the warehouse retail giant reports that Millennials are not paying the membership fee to purchase large quantities of items they do not have room for in their urban apartments. A recent housing report indicated that among Americans ages 18 to 34, only 18 percent consider home ownership “one of the most important things in their lives’’. Because such a high percentage of Millennials are in urban settings, most of them don’t have the other necessary item for a Costco shopper: a car.
In order to attract a younger clientele, Costco has added organic beef products and kale to its shelves and coolers, but it remains to be seen if Millennials will sign up.
There is also a much lower percentage of Millennials who sign up for professional unions, although those percentages can be skewed by the fact that fewer jobs offer union memberships.
While younger generations always see less need for the structure of membership, the Unaffiliated also have the benefit of already being a member of several different clubs – also known as social media sites.
Millennials have joined social media sites in much higher percentages than Gen X and older generations. In many cases, Millennials helped create the sites. They already have all the social benefits of membership from political or religious affiliation right at their fingertips and in their own bedrooms.
According to Spectrem’s Perspective report High Net Worth Millennials, 57 percent of Millennials with a net worth under $! Million are Facebook users, compared to 41 percent of Gen X and 46 percent of Baby Boomers. They also lead the percentages on LinkedIn and Twitter.
If there is a human need to belong, Millennials get that from their social media exposure. In many cases, declared membership in a political or religious organization can limit one socially on social media.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.