I recently finished a great read called The Next America. The book, written by Paul Taylor, Vice President of The Pew Research Center, focuses mainly on generational differences with a specific focus on Millennials. While Millennials are covered extensively, Paul shows interesting trends that are happening throughout the country as a whole. Overall, I was left with a clear understanding of where the country has been, where things are now and where we are headed in the future.
In just a few short years, my generation the Millennials, will make up a larger share of the voting population than any other generation. While Millennials are low on the totem pole for now, we are more connected and better educated than any generation in the history of this country. Here are a few traits I find in myself as well as the millions of other Millennials across this nation that distinguish us from the pack:
1. I quickly left my suburban upbringing and moved to the center city, which I love. I rent an apartment and have no intention of buying a home in the near future. I plan on living in several cities and working at several different companies.
2. I rent everything. I rent cars to go on weekend trips out of the city (ZipCar), I rent apartments rather than staying in hotels (AirBnb) and I rent people when I need an extra hand getting jobs done around the house (Task Rabbit). I love the thought of the sharing economy and am excited to see where it heads in the future.
3. I am a gentrifier and believe that cities, not suburbs, will become concentrated pockets of capital and creativity once again. Ultimately, I believe that suburbs will become what cities became in the later half of the 20th century; crime filled wastelands with little to no positive impact on society as a whole.
4. I do not own a TV, have a home phone or pay for cable. All I need is wifi. I keep up on my shows via Hulu, HBO Go (parents' subscription) and Netflix.
5. I do not own, or feel the need to own, a car. I think driving is incredibly dangerous and a key reason why Americans have become so overweight. There is no reason why you need to get in a car to drive five-minutes, either walk, take public transportation or ride a bike.
6. I think it is normal for gays and lesbians to get married. I am not a huge fan of marriage though, and think marriage as an institution is a social construct and is on the decline.
7. I think weed should be legal, regulated and taxed.
8. I think women should be paid as much as men. I also think the future of this country will be dominated by women, not men.
9. I think diversity and immigration is one of America's biggest strengths.
10. I graduated college with a significant amount of student debt.
11. I graduated college at the tail end of the worst economic time in this country's history, yet am unbelievably optimistic about my generation's future.
12. I am always connected. I am always working. I am always reachable.
13. Contrary to popular belief, I believe that my generation is selfless, not selfish.
14. I do not know how to use a fax machine, I do know know what life was like before cell phones and I certainly do not know what life was like before the Internet.