As Millennials reach a new stage of life – the oldest among them will turn 39 this year – a clearer picture of how members of this generation are establishing their own families is coming into view. New analysis of government data by Pew Research Center shows that Millennials are taking a different path in forming – or not forming – families. Millennials trail previous generations at the same age across three typical measures of family life: living in a family unit, marriage rates and birth rates.
Millennials are much less likely to be living with a family of their own than previous generations when they were the same age. (Living with a family is defined in this report as living with a spouse, one’s own child or children, or both a spouse and child.) In 2019, 55% of Millennials lived in this type of family unit, compared with 66% of Gen Xers in 2003, 69% of Baby Boomers in 1987 and 85% of members of the Silent Generation in 1968. Millennials lag furthest behind in the share living with a spouse and child: Only three-in-ten Millennials fell into this category in 2019, compared with 40% of Gen Xers, 46% of Boomers and 70% of Silents when they were the age Millennials are now.
The analysis also finds that a majority of Millennials are not currently married, and those who are getting married are doing so later in life compared with previous generations. Only 44% of Millennials were married in 2019, compared with 53% of Gen Xers, 61% of Boomers and 81% of Silents at a comparable age.
When it comes to child bearing, more than half (55%) of Millennial women had given birth as of 2018, smaller than the shares of previous generations of women who had given birth at a comparable age. Among those who have given birth, Millennial women have had an average of 2.02 children, which is similar to the average number of children Gen X women (2.07) and Boomer women (2.05) had had at a similar age.
Additional key findings included in the report:
The share of married Millennials who have a spouse of a different racial or ethnic background is significantly higher than the share of Gen X marriages that were multiracial or multiethnic in 2003. Some 13% of Millennial marriages include spouses of differing racial or ethnic backgrounds. Among married Millennials, 8% of whites are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity, with higher shares among Hispanic (19%), black (18%) and Asian (16%) Millennials.
Millennials are more educated, and they are more likely than previous generations to marry someone with the same level of education as them. Among married Millennials with a bachelor’s degree or more education, 75% are married to another college graduate. This is higher than Gen Xers (68%), Boomers (63%) or Silents (52%) when they were the age Millennials are now.
Most Millennials who aren’t living with a family of their own live in other family arrangements. Among all Millennials, 14% live with their parents and another 14% with other family members, a higher share of both than for previous generations when they were in their 20s and 30s. Millennial men are much more likely than Millennial women to live with their parents (18% of men compared with 10% of women), and Millennial men without a college degree are especially likely to fall into this category (21% compared with 12% of Millennial men with a bachelor’s or higher degree).
There are significant differences in the share of Millennials living in a family of their own by race, ethnicity and educational attainment. Black Millennials are the least likely to live in a family of their own – 46% do, compared with 57% of white and Hispanic Millennials and 54% of Asians. Black Millennials are more likely than other groups to live with a child and no spouse (22%, compared with 16% of Hispanic, 9% of white and 4% of Asian Millennials).
Millennial men are less likely to be living in a household with their own children than previous generations of men at a comparable age. In 2019, 32% of Millennial men reported living in a household with their own children, compared with 41% of Gen X men in 2003, 44% of Boomer men in 1987 and 66% of Silent men in 1968.Access the full report: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/05/27/as-millennials-near-40-theyre-approaching-family-life-differently-than-previous-generations/