House of Commons Library

Millennials

Published Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Millennials are the generation of people now in their young adulthood. Roughly aged between 25 and 34. Millennials make up 13.9% of the total UK population.

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Millennials entered young adulthood in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. The impact of this on their socio-economic outcomes as they have aged has been the subject of much debate. Policy makers and political commentators alike have discussed how factors such as stagnant pay, a changing labour market and the rising cost of housing have impacted upon millennials.

In this paper we tackle a series of questions regarding millennials, and the challenges they face. We have asked:

What is the demographic make-up of the millennial generation?

  • Millennials are concentrated in London where around 19% of them live.
  • Around 17% of millennials are in non-white ethnic groups.
  • Around 26% of millennials were born abroad. Around 13% of millennials were born in another EU country.

Are millennials underperforming in the labour market compared to other generations?

  • The employment rate for millennials is at a near record high for the 25-34 age group at 82.1%.
  • The unemployment rate for millennials is low at around 4.5%.
  • The most common sectors for employment of millennials are the wholesale and retail sector (13.5% of working millennials), health and social work (12.4%) and education (9.8%).
  • Employees aged 22-39 experienced the largest falls in real average earnings following the 2008 recession.

What effect has higher education had on the employment prospects of milleninials?

  • Almost 40% of the population in their late 20s and 30s were graduates.
  • 2013 ONS analysis showed that 47% of ‘recent graduates’ were in non-graduate roles.

How wealthy are millennials compared with those in older generations?

  • Unsurprisingly, because they have had less time to accumulate wealth, millennials have less financial assets and wealth than older generations.
  • Cohort analysis shows that both the generation born in the 1970s and millennials (mostly born in the 1980s) lag behind those born in the 1960s at the same age in terms of wealth accumulation.

Are millennials less likely to own their own home than older generations?

  • 59% of households led by a millennial were renting their home.
  • Twenty years ago, households led by people aged 25-35 were more likely to own than rent. In 1996 the trend was almost the reverse as it is today, 55% of households led by a 25-29 year old person and 68% of those led by 30-34 year olds were owner occupiers.

Do millennials have different political participation behaviours than other generations?

  • In the most recent general election (2015) millennials were more likely to vote for Labour than any other political party. Around 32.4% of millennials voters voted for Labour in 2015.
  • Millennials were more likely to vote 'Remain' in the 2016 Referendum, around 60% of millennial referendum voters voted to 'Remain' in the European Union.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7946

Authors: Jennifer Brown; Cassie Barton; Paul Bolton; Noel Dempsey; Daniel Harari; Oliver Hawkins; Feargal McGuinness; Andy Powell; Vyara Apostolova

Topics: Employment, Housing, Incomes and poverty, Nationality, Owner occupation, Pay, Pensions, Population, Private rented housing, Social rented housing, Unemployment

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