The Fascinating Differences Between Older and Younger Millennials

Anthony Dufresne Millennial Life Issues, News, Podcasts Leave a Comment

Based on some recent, solid research and a number of obviously fake news articles, there are some fascinating differences between older and younger Millennials.

This show came from the winner of the “show idea” contest I held at the end of last year.  There were three suggestions for the older vs. younger Millennial show and I picked Christian’s name out of a hat…I didn’t really use a hat, but it’s a better image than a white Ikea bowl.  At the time, Christian wrote in,

“I think you should do a show on some of the differences between “junior” millennials (born mid late 90s) and “senior” millennials (born early to mid 80s). I was born in 82 and sometimes don’t relate to younger generational millennials whatsoever. I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 23 and some millennials had them in elementary school — same with the internet and social media.” 

So, Christian and everyone else…here we go…let’s talk about the differences between older and younger Millennials

Pew Report: How Millennial Are You?

Forbes: Fascinating Demographic Differences between Older and Younger Millennials (John Zogby)

Zogby Analytics conducted a poll of 18-34 year olds online May 30 through June 6, 2014. The 1,019 respondents were those who possessed smart phones. A total of 768 fall into the older group while 251 are in the younger group. Here are some interesting statistics:

  • 52% of the older group were White/Caucasian but only 40% of the younger ones identify themselves this way.
  • 36% of the younger group consider their current job to be “just a gig”, in contrast with 27% of the older group.
  • Overall, younger Millennials are less white, have greater anxiety about the economy, consider their current work to be ephemeral, or lasting for a short time, and are more secular than older Millennials. And, they are either more likely to be gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (24% to 13%) or, at least more likely to declare themselves to be so.


Before I tell you about the second half of the show, I would like to provide you with a way to get my latest FREE mini-guide.  

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Differences in the workforce


The article was based on answers given by Helen Min, the head of business marketing at Dropbox

She has managed older and younger, high-achieving millennials in tech and found there are differences beyond the fact that one group is simply older than the other.

  1. Older millennials were in the workforce during the 2008 recession and likely experienced a career pivot or lifestyle adjustment during that time, which taught them how to restructure their career paths and gain perspective on being employed. Younger millennials hold a much more egalitarian, real-time view, where intelligence, abilities and performance at any given point hold more weight than any relevant past experience. Setbacks and repetitive work can sometimes feel like an assault on younger millennials’ upward career trajectory. One lesson I learned early on is to never force perspective on young millennials.
  2. She also sees a big split when it comes to life expectations. Older Millennials have learned to lower expectations about many things in life in order to avoid disappointment, while youngers have high expectations of life and work and they have high expectations for their managers and the companies they work for.  Reward and recognize younger millennials by giving them opportunities to learn something new. Younger millennials are more averse to doing a job that they feel they’ve already done, or “mastered,” even if they’ve only done it once or twice. Giving these team members the opportunity to earn new, exciting problems to solve, and acquire new skills on behalf of your team, helps your overall team grow and evolve, and creates a more fulfilling, rewarding experience for high-performing young millennials.


Elite Daily Article: What It’s Like To Be An ‘Old’ Millennial  (Emily McCombs)

There appears to be a consistent and vocal opposition by 30 somethings regarding being called the M-word.

For technical, scientific and social grouping purposes, the Millennial generation includes people born between 1980 and around 1997.  However, due to some very distinctive social and technological shifts during that time, it seems there are two distinct “camps” of the Gen-Y generation, and it seems to shift right around the late 20’s mark.

Emily, the writer of the piece, is 32 and she indicates that she didn’t even realize she was a Millennial until she started working for Elite Daily, where she was first introduced to the label.

She writes, “The (label) “Millennial” covers a sort of absurd swath of a very diverse population. This results in a weird gray area for those of us born in the early 80s, where it feels like we’re sort of trapped between generations. She indicates that there are big differences between her life experiences and those of a 22-year-old, especially when it comes to technological advances. I’m part of the last generation to remember life before the Internet. And, when I asked about the differences between older and younger Millennials on her Facebook page, she was surprised at how many responses she got and how quickly things got a little hostile. Older Millennials resented being lumped in with a generation they didn’t relate to, and younger Millennials resented being treated like a stereotype.

She goes on to list these differences between older and younger Millennials:

  1. As an Elder Millennial, she uses technology differently
    1. The youngers are almost all digital with movies on Netflix, books on Kindle and music on Spotify and itunes, where she talks about still having a shelf full of paperbacks, an actual alarm clock, a bunch of DVD’s and she still listens to CD’s and prefers to watch TV on her TV.
    2. Also, while most Millennials (and baby boomers) use social media, there seems to currently be a big dividing line when it comes to Venmo and Snapchat. As a generalization, younger Millennials use them and older Millennials don’t. Everybody uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (including, like, your grandma).
  2. She has different pop culture nostalgia
    1. She writes, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned working at a Millennial website, it’s the Millennials f*cking love “Full House and their TV nostalgia is for Disney shows I can barely describe like “Lizzie McGuire” and “Even Stevens.” They lusted after ‘N Sync and 98 Degrees instead of New Kids on the Block. She states that her nostalgia show of choice is more likely to be “Saved by the Bell,” and she cut her teeth on “Sweet Valley High” and “The Babysitters’ Club.” She reminisces more about “Clueless” than “Mean Girls.” She was way into Devon Sawa and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, not Aaron Carter and the cast of “One Tree Hill.”
  1. Different slang use
    1. My first day here, I pointed to a word and asked one of my employees if it was a typo or a “youth slang I wasn’t familiar with.” I was kind of joking, but then it turned out it actually was a youth slang I wasn’t familiar with. For all the old Millennials out there, “slore” = slut + whore. Some other terms that I’ve never heard used so much in my life before spending my days with young Millennials: “f*ckboys,” “low-key,” “lit,” “AF.” I once used the prefix “cyber,” and a younger co-worker laughed for like 20 minutes.
  1. Dating is different
    1. Plenty of older Millennials use dating apps. But the one time she tried Tinder, she deleted it within a day. Not only was she creeped out by seeing people she was connected to in real life, it also felt so robotic and soulless to connect with someone based purely on the fact that you like his or her face. However, it’s that very aspect that her younger Millennial co-worker finds to be more authentic, since you’re receiving the same basic amounts of information you would if you met someone out at a bar. The idea of a full profile on a site like OKCupid or Match seems like “too much” to her younger co-worker. To Emily, it’s necessary to gauge compatibility.
  1. Olders remember life BEFORE the internet
    1. This is the major divide between younger and older Millennials that all other differences spring from in her opinion. She remembers the distinctive tone of a dial-up modem and when Prodigy charged by the hour. She remembers Geocities sites made up of flashing GIFs and making friends in chat rooms by starting conversations with “a/s/l”? Hell, I remember life before cell phones. I remember when, if you were running late somewhere, you just had to hope your friend waited around for you. I remember looking up movie times in the newspaper and calling “Time and Temperature” to check the weather.

Lexi and I finish the show with a nod to the potential impact the Millennial generation will have soon and into the future.  Enjoy the show!

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