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June 20, 2012 Print

Sobering News for Millennials

by Dawn McBane

We often see random and varying statistics on the Millennial generation – from very positive news to less-heartening statistics.  Recently , Glenn Stanton, Focus on the Family’s director of Family Formation Studies, has delved into some of the ongoing research on Millennials and compiled some of the highlights. Research like this is helpful because it provides a smarter context for understanding, reaching and assisting current generations to develop thriving families and growing faiths.

Among the findings, the following points are of particular interest:

  • Millennials are more likely to be living with other family members, such as parents or siblings, than the previous two generations:  47 percent of Millennials live with family members, compared to 43 percent of Gen Xers and 39 percent of Baby Boomers. Also, 36 percent of Millennials depend on their parents or other family members for financial assistance.
  • Millennials are also markedly more likely to cohabit, but to do so with a strong desire to marry. Much of their decision to cohabit rather than commit to marriage springs from their deep anxiety over the possibility of divorce, based on so many of their parents’ own marital failures. This fear and pain is a key marker of this generation, and it nearly paralyzes them in terms of relational development.
  • Only 43 percent of Millennials are likely to say a “religious life” is important to them—markedly less than Gen Xers, (53 percent), Baby Boomers (59 percent) and Silent Majorities (68 percent).

For those of you who are observing Millennials, you might notice a trend: As a generation, Millennials have a problem with financial stability; they desire marriage but often get sidetracked with cohabitation (which is long-proven to increase the chance of divorce—the very thing they hope to avoid by cohabitating); and they are wishy-washy in their faith convictions.

So what would help this generation achieve financial and marriage goals, and become stronger in their faith? 

For those of you who have children or grandchildren in this demographic, here are a few things to encourage them to work on: Be consistently involved in community; find a mentor they want to emulate; and of course, think deeply about issues that matter. The first two take some gumption of their own, but the last one can be done by finding good resources that help them think deeply about the issues of our day. Toward that end, Rising Voice provides social and cultural commentary specifically geared toward Millennials.