Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As any journalist will tell you, companies love to survey millennials. (We get press releases on such surveys pretty much daily.) EY — the former Ernst & Young — is no exception: They've just released "The Millennial Economy 2018," which updates the data from a survey named "The Millennial Economy" that was conducted 2 years ago.

The big picture: Two big findings stand out. The proportion of millennials living with their parents has plunged, from 30% in 2016 to 16% in 2018. The proportion of millennials who own their own home has soared, from 26% in 2016 to 40% in 2018.

Our thought bubble: Firstly, all credit to EY for repeating its survey. This kind of data becomes much more interesting and informative when you have a time series, rather than just a single datapoint.

One note of caution: While the 2016 survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and GBA Strategies, the 2018 survey was conducted by Research Now. None of those companies are household names, and EY did not respond to a query about why the change was made.

  • While the numbers are surely directionally accurate, it's dangerous to read too much into the magnitude of the changes. When you start looking at the size of a change, rather than the absolute size of a number, then margins of error get magnified significantly.
  • Millennials are 2 years older in 2018 than they were in 2016. The first survey was of individuals aged between 18 and 34; this year, it's of individuals aged 20 to 36. Who are naturally more likely to own homes and to no longer live with their parents.

The bottom line: Survey data can be informative and eye opening, but the more extraordinary the results, the less likely they are to be true. Millennials have certainly been buying houses in the past two years, but this isn't enough evidence to conclude that the millennial homeownership rate has jumped by 54% in just 24 months.

Go deeper

Deadly storm Zeta pummels parts of Alabama and Florida

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people and caused mass power outages after making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," Zeta weakened to a tropical storm over central Alabama early on Thursday, but it was still packing powerful winds and heavy rains, per the National Hurricane Center.

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

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