The Millennial Generation—Birth Years, Characteristics, and History

March 26, 2021  - by 
millennials hiking

The Millennial generation refers to people who were born during the last two decades of the 20th century. It always takes sociologists and other social scientists a few years to settle on a name. For a while, millennials were known as Generation Y, since they are the generation that follows Generation X. 

When Were Millennials Born?

The starting year for the Millennial generation is anywhere from 1977 to 1981. Scholars seem to be more in agreement about the ending year, however, which is almost always identified as 1995 or 1996. If you want to play it safe, you would say that a millennial is anyone born during the period 1980–1995.

If you’re an older millennial, your parents were probably baby boomers (1946–1964). If you’re a younger millennial, on the other hand, your parents might be from Generation X (1965–1976).

What Are Millennials Known For?

As their name suggests, millennials are known for being born near the very end of the last millennium. It was during the millennials’ childhoods and teenage years that technological advancements revolutionized the world we live in. Think of all the many aspects of life affected or even controlled by the internet—millennials came of age at the same time all these changes were happening.

millennial man on phone wearing headphones

Millennial Characteristics

It’s hard to pick a characteristic that all the millions of people born between 1980 and 1995 share. Still, researchers and sociologists have fun trying. Here are a few of the characteristics and quirks they’ve noticed:

  • Millennials are good at accepting change. Millennials have witnessed a massive shift in technologies, the economy, and business throughout their lifetime. If life has taught them anything, it’s that things don’t stay the same for long.
  • Millennials are curious. If there is a faster, better way of doing something, millennials want to know. They’ll take advantage of the tools available to them to be more effective. Researchers say that this quality makes them valuable employees.
  • Millennials value teamwork. This generation tends to enjoy collaborative work environments where they can seek out alternate viewpoints and input from others.
millennials working as a team at work, sitting at table together
  • Millennials like feedback. Millennials recognize the importance of valuable, regular feedback, especially when it comes to the workplace. In additional to seeking out constructive criticism and mentorship, this generation also appreciates positive feedback and recognition for a job well-done.
  • Millennials visit public libraries more regularly than other age groups. The reason for this characteristic is a bit of a mystery. Maybe they get tired of tapping screens. Maybe they’re nostalgic, and the feel of a book reminds them of their childhoods. Who knows for sure? If you’re a millennial and like going to the library, maybe you can leave a comment at the bottom of this article and explain why!

History from a Millennial’s Point of View

Most millennials remember the terrorist attacks of 9/11. This event is an important intersection with history that distinguishes them from the generation that came after.

Most millennials were teenagers or young adults when the first social media platforms became available, technologies that changed the way people communicate with each other and interact with the world around them. Millennials may be able to remember the world before social media. But they have a hard time imagining a future without it!

Millennials entered the economic recession of 2008 shortly after college or even during college. Many of them may have lost a job on account of this crisis or were compelled to change or study a different career.

Documenting Your Generation

FamilySearch.org is an easy way to document your generation—and anything else about your life you think is interesting.

Millennial woman taking selfie with phone

Learning what generation you belong to isn’t like having your fortune told. It doesn’t dictate your personality or reveal what your true talents are. But it does situate you within a group of people who have lived through similar historical experiences and have a similar relationship to technology, education, politics, and other aspects of life.  

Whatever your age now, you’re part of a unique generation. Time to start documenting it! The people who come after you will thank you. And, to be honest, you’ll enjoy reading and reliving your most important memories too.

With FamilySearch, building your family history is as easy as uploading a photo or recording yourself talking. Our tools are so simple to use. You can start right now if you want to.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments

  1. I’m motivated by your article, just when I feel, I can’t research anymore, more tips come my way

  2. I an a millenial. My mom used to take us kids to the library for storyhour every week. The library had a few toys to check out. My favorite was the play kitchen. The kids section of books had beautiful murals on the walls and archways that felt safe. Storyhour was nice. Sometimes we watched films, once we had a party with food from other countries. When my family moved, the new library became our haven. In college, studying at the library was natural and effective. I still love libraries, and visit at least weekly.

  3. I posed the question about millennial’s fondness of libraries to one of my sons who was born in 1983. He hypothesized that based on his experience with the high cost of education, especially textbooks, that millennials often go for the cheapest option which is to use the library.

  4. I’m finding many of my generation is turning to homeschooling their children as well. Not distance learning but actual homeschooling. Long before the pandemic. Lots of books and library outings and getting back to nature.”

  5. I’ve never thought about how much as an generation that we have seen and how it changed some things for the worst and some for the best… the whole generation should do it so our *voice* is left in a book.. the winner writes the history or so thay say

  6. I traced my 39th Great Grandfather to Rollo of Norway. He later became the first Duke of Normandy.