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Millennials Are The Biggest Generation But Who Are They?

Few days pass without hearing of some new trend related to “Millennials,” that generation born between roughly 1980 to 2000. That’s not surprising, given that they number some 80 million in the United States alone.

What is surprising is how few people understand who and what Millennials are all about.

One story this week said the generation doesn’t buy homes, then the Wall Street Journal said they will buy homes. Another said they will spend a whopping $62 billion on media, such as downloads, pay-for-TV and concerts this year.

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And Millennials, they say, are averse to marriage—the generation basically coined the term “hooking up.” 

The list goes on: Millennials would rather walk than buy a car; they pray not at a church but at the altar of the Internet; and they don’t stay in the same job for long.

Las Vegas resident, Zappos employee and millennial Krissee Danger, 27, doesn’t believe her generation can be summed up with a few statements. She told KNPR’s State of Nevada the only constant with Millennials is change.

She attributes that to her generation’s short attention span.

“Our generation has a shorter attention span than most, which makes total sense with the way digital media is,” Danger said, “I think for me spending six years at a job is terrifying. I wouldn’t want to do the same thing for too long.”

Danger does dispute the stereotype that Millennials are lazy or not interested in working. She says her generation had to find new ways to work because many knew they weren’t going have the American Dream.

“I do think our generation is different we have experienced in a lot of ways the death of the American Dream,” Danger said, “We realized we weren’t going to have a 40 year job with a big pension plan and a house with a white picket fence.”

Staci Perkins is also a downtown Las Vegas resident and a millennial. She told KNPR’s State of Nevada her generation learned from the struggles their parents went through.  

“For most of us the American Dream is a nightmare because you’re stuck in one place for 40 years. And we saw that not working for our parents,” she said.

Perkins works for postmates.com, a San Francisco-based mobile delivery app that delivers just about anything from just about any store or restaurant.

She said she has made an effort to make sure she doesn’t have a job where she is in an office eight hours a day.

Matt Heller helps companies market to Millennials. He said that although you cannot stereotype all Millennials they are grouped together by birth date and by shared experience.

Heller said there are three big things that define the generation: technology, trophies and trauma.

The generation is known for being always connected to technology. They are digital natives, meaning they have always had technology and really can’t live without it.

They’re known as a ‘trophy generation’ because they were raised by helicopter parents who wanted to ensure that everyone felt successful. Everyone received a trophy even if they were last person to cross the finish line.

And trauma plays a part because they were raised in a post-9/11 world, with almost constant war, threat levels, back to back recessions and school shootings. Heller believes Millennials crave stability because they had so little of it.  

Guests:

Krissee Danger, Zappos employee and Millennial

Staci Perkins, postmates.com and millennial

Matt Heller, founder and managing director, Urbaneer Creative 

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