Reviewing the Pew Research Center Report “The Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change.” (I know I don’t need to tell you that the Millennials are 18-28 year olds.) As this audience represents the vast majority of the people I “talk” to and about every day at Loopt, as well as at other companies, it’s worth drilling down on what makes this generation tick.

This is a generation of adults that are confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. They are less religious, more racially diverse, and on track to become the most educated generation in American history.

Here are some identifiers:

  • 8 in 10 sleep with their cell phones by their bed.
  • Nearly two-thirds admit to texting while driving.
  • Three-quarters have a profile on a social networking site.
  • One-in-five have posted a video of themselves online.
  • Four-in-ten have a tattoo — about half have two to five, and 18% have six or more. (70% say their tattoos are hidden beneath their clothing.
  • One-in-four have piercings in a place other than their ear lobe
  • Most have placed privacy boundaries on their social media profiles.
  • 37% are unemployed, or out of the workforce; but 90% say they have enough money or that they will eventually meet their long term goals.
  • Two-thirds are cautious about dealing with other people — is the “war on terror” and other fear-mongering making this generation just less trustworthy and more cynical about their fellow human beings?
  • One in four say they don’t belong to a religious affiliation, but that doesn’t mean they don’t “believe” — just as many pray as their elders did in their youth.
  • Six-in-ten are raised by both parents.
  • One-in-five are married.
  • One-in-eight were ‘boomeranged’ back into their parents’ homes due to economic circumstances.

These stats are interesting. They represent facts. You are either married. Or not. Tattoo’d. Or not. But what’s even more interesting to me is their self-perception. When this generation were asked what makes their generation unique, they answered:

  1. Technology use (24%)
  2. Music/pop culture (11%)
  3. Liberal/tolerant (7%)
  4. Smarter (6%)
  5. Clothes (5%)

You can read the report to see how other generations perceive themselves. Also fascinating.

The whole report provides validation for what I see every day. That the Millennial generation is the one that leads the rest of us into new forms of behavior and new technology use. From Facebook to Texting to Chatroulette. Older generations who ignore what Millennials are doing, especially in the technology arena, do so at their peril. Accept, learn, and embrace. Some of it is crazy. All of it is truly fascinating.