From Books to Babies: What We’re Learning about Millennials

millennials, Laura Carroll

Interesting information is being gathered about the millennial generation. The latest has to do with their reading habits. Check it out.

Could they be readers? Here’s what a recent Pew Research Center report says: 88 percent of those ages 16-29, “the core of the millennial generation,” had read a book in the last year.  This is compared to 70 percent of those over 30 years old.

According to Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center: “There are lots of suppositions about this group that they are so enchanted with their screens that they don’t want to read books, and they don’t want to write to each other or things like that. And it’s just the opposite of what we see. That there’s lots more reading and writing going on in this generation than there was in the past. This generation is now adapting technology to do very traditional things in very new ways that matter to them.”

Now, I would not consider one book a year as a “reader.”  At what number of read books per year would you consider any person a “reader?”

No matter how many millennials read, odds are they are paying cash (most likely in the form of a debit card) for their books. A just released study by Bankrate.com indicates that more than 60 percent of consumers ages 18 to 29 say they do not have a credit card.

Laura Carroll, LiveTrue BooksWhat else do we know about millennials? In the book, Millennial Momentum, Morely Winograd and Michael Hais refer to this generation, which will be 34 percent of the population in 2020, as the “civic” generation, as opposed to the so-called idealist generation of the ’60s.

According to another Pew Research Center study, they are “slower to marry” than previous generations. About one in five (22 percent) millennials are currently married. Regardless of whether they are married, over 70 percent say they eventually want children.

Yet in the book, Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family, Stewart Friedman summarizes a cross-generational study of just graduating college students that produced a “stark discovery: the rate of graduates who plan to have children has dropped by nearly half over the past 20 years.”

So we’ll see. From books to babies, to money and marriage and more, it will be interesting to watch this generation over time.  I am watching them closely on one channel in particular. I am five years into a longitudinal project with women who at the start of the study were in their twenties and sure they did not want children. I am tracking this choice and their lives over a decade. While I can’t share what I am learning yet, I will share one thing: many in this study definitely read more than one book a year!

2 thoughts on “From Books to Babies: What We’re Learning about Millennials

  1. I am a member of the Millennial generation. A few thoughts: 16-year-olds are not Millennials, but Generation Z

    * 70% saying they want children actually sounds like a decline, to me. Wasn’t it upwards of 80% 15 years ago?

    *In 2011, 43% of Gen X women had not yet had children. So yes, we’ll see.

    *I think marriage has really dropped in significance for my peers and I.

    * Glad to see that we’re readers:)

    1. Hey thanks for writing! Gen Z – Ok! As for 16 year olds, Pew Research Center seems to think they are Millennial …

      Can you direct me to where you learned it was 80% 15 years ago? Always wanting more info. In Baby Bust, it reports that re college grads:

      In response to the question, Do you plan to have children?:
      -In 1992, 79% of women said yes, 12% said probably, and 3% said probably not or no;
      -In 2012, 41% of women said yes, 14% said probably, and 27% said probably not or no
      -In 1992, 78% of men said yes, 9% said probably, 6% said probably not or no
      -In 2012, 42% of men said yes, 12% said probably, 30% said probably not or no

      Can you tell me ~ Why is marriage not as significant for you?

      ~Laura

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