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35 Biggest Differences Between Baby Boomers and Millennials

Millennials Are Happier in Cities

According to a 2019 Regional Studies report, millennials are more likely to live in more urban centers. Millennials are all about diversity, economic opportunities, and entertainment, all of which a large metropolitan city can provide. Baby boomers, on the other hand, flocked to homes in more suburban areas.

Millennials Want More Out of Work

According to a Global Report survey taken this year, 74% of millennial employees want a job where they feel like their work matters and have a high potential for growth and promotion. Baby boomers are driven more by loyalty and are more likely to work at the same company for long periods of time. A poll in 2016 found that 40% of boomers stayed with an employer for at least 20 years.

Baby Boomers Push Back Retirement

Research has shown that more and more baby boomers are delaying retirement due to the desire to stay active. The Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that 26% of boomers have planned to retire once they hit retirement age. Many baby boomers have vowed to stay busy with jobs, travel, or special project plans.

Millennials Are More Health-Conscious

In 2013, Aetna conducted a poll that found millennials defined health as a combination of good eating habits, physical activity, not falling ill, and being the right weight for your height. Baby boomers, on the other hand, defined health as not falling sick and being the right weight for your height. Millennials can also be credited for the rise of gluten-free, vegan, and all-natural food options.

Millennials Have Less Money

And, no, it’s not because they’re eating avocado toast or whatever. The Federal Reserve found that millennials have lower earnings, fewer assets, and less wealth compared to baby boomers. Millennials have been forced to spend most of their money on high rent prices and paying off student loans thanks to the exorbitant cost of higher education.

Baby Boomers Make More Money

Millennial workers between the ages of 25 and 34 earn lower salaries on average than baby boomers did in the same period. Over the last several years, there has been a salary decline of about 20%, according to a report by Young Invincibles.

Millennials Are Waiting to Get Married

The Pew Research Center has found that millennials and Gen Z are less likely to marry during their 20s. Almost 50% of baby boomers were married between the ages of 18 and 32, while only 26% of millennials are married in that same age range. This decline in the marriage rate reflects a lot of cultural and economic shifts.

Baby Boomers Consume More Traditional Media

Baby boomers are the highest consumers of traditional media such as TV, magazines, newspapers, and radio. Millennials, however, typically choose streaming services over traditional TV and manage several different social media accounts.

Millennials Move Less

According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are moving way less than earlier generations. About one out of six millennials between the ages of 25 to 37 have moved in the past year. For previous generations, baby boomers included, about 25% of young adults in the same range had moved.

Millennials Start Families Later

The Pew Research Center has found millennials are much slower to buy a home and start a family than their previous generation counterparts. About 46% of millennials between 25 and 37 are married compared to 67% of boomers when they were the same age. Also, 48% of millennial women between ages 20 and 35 were moms in 2016, while 58% of the women of the boomer generation had become moms by that age.

Baby Boomers Don’t Relocate Often

Baby boomers are happy to retire exactly where they are, while millennials prefer to move to their dream location. 

Millennials Are More Progressive

The Pew Research Center has found that millennials are usually much more progressive on social issues. For example, 70% of millennials support gay marriage, while only 38% of baby boomers supported it. 

Millennials Are More Educated

According to the Pew Research Center, around four out of 10 millennials between 25 and 37 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the 27% of baby boomers when they were the same age.

Baby Boomers Are More Team-Oriented

The work styles between baby boomers and millennials are very, very different. Baby boomers have long since been successful in group projects and assignments that include a lot of communication among coworkers. Millennials, while good at group work, tend to prefer to work individually.

Baby Boomers Place Authority at a Higher Standard

In the workplace, baby boomers have been found to believe that experience is the ruling force. Baby boomers tend to think that someone with more experience and commitment to a company gives them more right to get a promotion or place in authority. Millennials, on the other hand, associate that same authority with hard work and significant contributions, regardless of age or experience.

Millennials Don’t Expect Stability

Baby boomers had the luxury of a steady paycheck that could cover almost anything, and they’re used to working hard for one specific company for a long time. Millennials, however, expect to be fired or let go regularly, and they expect paychecks are spotty from job to job (e.g., unpaid internships, unlivable minimum wage, and the like). Millennials expect instability.

Baby Boomers Prefer Face-to-Face Communication

This is to be expected, but with the rise of mobile phones, social media, and new ways of communication, millennials typically prefer those to face-to-face interactions. Baby boomers almost always prefer to meet and talk in person or over the phone. Millennials, however, rely heavily on digital communications for both personal and professional conversations. Millennials do believe that urgent messages should be conveyed in person, though.

Millennials Are Better at Saving Money

According to a NerdWallet study has shown that millennials are better at saving for retirement than older generations. Approximately 38% of millennial parents dedicate at least 15% of their income toward retirement, while only 23% of Baby Boomers did the same.

Baby Boomers Spend More Money

Baby boomers have more wealth than other generations, and they know how to spend it. According to Total Retail Report, boomers spend much more money than anyone else, at an amount of at least $400 billion a year.

Millennials Spend More on Entertainment

They may be serious about money management, but millennials still spend more money on entertainment than baby boomers. According to a CNBC report in 2017, about 73% of millennials versus 55% of baby boomers spend money on live music, sports, or other events.

Millennials Pay More for Education

This is an obvious one, but one of the significant dividing factors in these generations. Baby boomers saw college education as their birthright, while millennials view college as a significant expense. Forbes found that college tuition is 150% more expensive for millennials than it was for baby boomers. In 2016, the average millennial graduated from college with an average of $37,172 in debt.

Baby Boomers Had More Assets

When Baby Boomers were young adults, they easily owned double the assets of millennials. According to a report by Young Invincibles, the average assets for millennials with a college degree (and college debt) has declined about 71% and those without a college degree and the debt that comes with it, have seen a drop of about 45%.

Millennial’s Net Worth is Less than Baby Boomers

In 1989, baby boomers with college debt had a net wealth of about $86,500. Compared to that, 25 years later, millennial’s net wealth has dropped down to $6,600, according to a report conducted by Young Invincibles. The main cause of this drop is the historic student debt and the ever-rising cost of college tuition.

Baby Boomers Are Supporting Their Children

It is true that baby boomers have much more disposable income than other generations, as they’ve had the opportunity to save over the years. However, all that money that they’ve been saving is now being used to support their adult children. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 60% of baby boomer parents provide financial assistance to their children in one form or another.

Many Millennials Still Live With Their Parents

U.S. News found that a millennial household can include non-spouse or family members, simply because most millennials can’t afford to live on their own. So, millennials find roommates if they don’t marry or they stay with their parents.

Baby Boomers Hold Most Higher Paying Jobs

From Aerospace Engineers to Chief Medical Officers to CEOs, boomers are more likely than other generations to hold some of the world’s higher-paying jobs.

Millennials are the Most Charitable Generation

Maybe this comes as a surprise, but a study by fundraising firm Blackbaud, 84% of Millennials make annual charitable donations and up to 70% volunteer their time and talents to worthy causes. They don’t give as much money as baby boomers, but they donate more clothes, food, and supplies. On the baby boomers end, 72% give to charity. That's not a huge margin, but 12% can make a huge difference.

Millennials Aren’t Big Fans of Baseball

According to a poll by ESPN, only 18% of millennials would describe themselves as fans of the "great American past time" that is baseball. However, they are fans of soccer. Soccer has become the second most popular sport among 12-24-year-olds in the United States.

Baby Boomers Constitute Most of the Web

A Google study found that 78% of boomers were online by 2013, and 82% belong to at least one social media platform. They also spend more time online each week than millennials, and they use quite a bit of that time to research news.

Millennials Think They’re Narcissistic

A study by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology has shown that millennials between the ages of 18 and 25 (mostly younger millennials), on a 100-point scale measuring narcissism, rated themselves at 61.4. Meanwhile, baby boomers only rated themselves 26.5 narcissistic. At the same time, baby boomers rated millennials 65.3 narcissistic.

Millennials Love to Travel

A 2019 survey conducted by Deloitte found that 57% of Millennials put seeing the world a the top of their bucket lists, even ahead of owning a home or having children. 

Baby Boomers Are Very Religious

The world is becoming more and more secular, but baby boomers are still clinging onto their religion. Pew Research found that only 17% of baby boomers don’t identify with any particular religion, on the other hand, 36% of millennials don’t identify with any particular religion.

Baby Boomers Are The Most Important Consumers

Baby boomers have been found to be the most important consumers of these brands. Nielsen tracks 6,500 brands, and 72% of these brands rely on over 50% of the boomer population.

Baby Boomers Control Most of the Wealth

A Nielsen study has found baby boomers control approximately 70% of the wealth in the United States. People over the age of 50 years old have a combined income of over $2.4 trillion and account for over 40% of consumer demand in the country.

Baby Boomers Prefer Facebook Over Instagram

Contrary to popular belief, baby boomers are definitely online. According to Forbes, approximately 82% of boomers who use the internet have one or more social media accounts. Forbes went on to say that 10% of Facebook users are boomers while only 3% are from a younger demographic (millennials and Gen Z).  LinkedIn and Facebook are the two most popular social media platforms for baby boomers, while millennials prefer Facebook and Instagram.