Updated Mar 10, 2018

Poll: People view millennials as "spoiled" and "lazy"

Photo: Logan Bowles, Justin Sullivan/Getty

Millennials are described, by others and themselves, as "spoiled," "lazy" and "entitled," according to an Axios/SurveyMonkey survey. They've put off moving out, getting married and having kids. But millennials also appear in many ways to be more financially responsible than prior generations — saving more, taking less paid time off, and worrying more about stability.

Why it matters: Millennials are the most diverse generation ever, and the largest proportion of the American workforce. But, as they gradually take over the pillars of the economy, they are splintering into two distinct groups that struggle to relate with one another, divided by education, age, personality and achievement.

Intra-generational split

Right at around the age of 30, according to Jason Dorsey, who studies millennials for the Center of Generational Kinetics, millennials tend to self-select into one of two groups, and are "no longer able to identify with the other group in their own generation."

  • One is “increasingly self-reliant." These millennials are motivated and successful, and feel that they are progressing toward their goals.
  • The other struggles to advance through the traditional steps of adulthood, and feels that they're not making progress.
Maturity gap
  • Traditional adulthood:
    • In 2016, 56% of 34 year olds were married, according to Gallup, following a more traditional roadmap of getting married in your 20s or early 30s.
    • 47% of millennials have $15,000 or more in savings and 1 in 6 have $100,000, according to a Bank of America study. 81% of millennials are saving for retirement, more than any other generation, according to a Discover study released last month.
    • 54% of millennials said that if money wasn't a concern, they still would not quit their jobs in a Survey Monkey survey from last year — a slightly higher percentage than Gen Xers and baby boomers.
    • 69% of 18–34 year olds told Axios/Survey Monkey that they considered the amount of debt they had to be "manageable."
    • Millennials overwhelmingly prefer a steady, full-time job to several part-time jobs and care more about working for a company that they believe in than making lots of money — in tune with past generations.
  • Not so traditional:
    • Almost half of 34 year olds who had never been married have kids — a roughly 16 percentage point uptick from past generations.
    • A recent GoBankingRates survey, which took into account younger millennials than the Bank of America survey, found that there is a growing percentage of millennials who have no savings — 31% in 2016 and 46% in 2017.
    • 45% of millennials said they would quit their jobs if money wasn't a concern.
    • 31% overall — and 33% of slightly older millennials — said their debt was “overwhelming," compared to just 22% of Gen Xers and the youngest boomers.
    • 30% of millennials currently own a small business, with 61% believing that it brings more security, according to a 2017 study by the Center for Generational Kinetics.
    • There's also a growing trend in young people becoming farmers, and old-timey jobs like bartenders, barbers, butchers, craft brewers, bookbinders, furniture makers and fishmongers. These are making a comeback in some gentrifying, working-class neighborhoods in cities such as Brooklyn, Portland and Pittsburgh.
Degree vs. no degree
  • The millennial generation is the most educated generation ever — yet in 2016, 60% of 25–29 year olds did not have a bachelor's degree, according to Pew Research.
  • Millennials with a bachelor's degree have seen their wages continue to rise, while the less educated have watched theirs decline.
  • These trends are widening the gap between stable, successful millennials and those at risk of slipping into poverty.
Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Note: Dollar figures adjusted to 2016 dollars. 2017 value in current dollars; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
  • Richard Fry from Pew Research tells Axios: "The fortunes of millennials are much more dependent on whether they received further education [than it was for] boomers. Their education wasn’t so important. Education has increasingly changed the rewards that we see young adults receive."
  • Worth the debt?
    • 37% of 18–34 year olds have student debt, according to the Axios/Survey Monkey survey, compared with 21% overall.
    • At double the share of Americans overall, 46% of the youngest millennials (18–24 year olds) worry about “paying off student loans.”
    • Yet the majority of these younger millennials said that college is worth the cost, while 59% of older millennials (25–34 year olds) said that it wasn't.
The age gap

The oldest millennials are now in their mid 30s and finally "settling down," which leads to heightened concerns about finances, kids and home buying, while the youngest millennials are still pursuing their education.

"We see material differences between older millennials and younger millennials," Dorsey told Axios. "Their generational characteristics are very similar, but because of these key life moments — marriage, kids and so forth — they start to behave differently."

By the numbers:

  • 67% of older millennials (25–34) said they were employed full-time, compared with only 27% of younger millennials, according to the Survey Monkey survey.
  • 49% of older millennials said they worried about caring for children, compared with only 33% of younger millennials.
  • While both groups of millennials are primarily concerned with jobs and the economy, the younger millennials are equally concerned about education, while older millennials consider health care their number two concern.

Go deeper

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.