Millennials form a quarter of the total population, as there are 1.8 billion young people in the world. But despite their cultural and social differences, they all have a few points in common.
Generation Y grew up in the era of technology and in the context of a global financial crisis, with the common concern of getting a good education as well as a steady job.
Millennials are also likely to live longer than previous generations and are considered brainier. Average scores on intelligence tests have been rising for decades in several countries, thanks to better nutrition and mass education.
Relying on studies by Ronald Lee of the University of California, Berkeley, and Andrew Mason of Hawaii University, as well as a 2016 report by The Economist called “Generation Uphill,” experts believe that young people are “an oppressed minority.”
With a global view and a focus on practical matters, such as education and jobs, researchers say that millennials are not given the credit they deserve — many of their talents go unrecognized.
Millennials face today the challenge of an increasingly competitive job market. In many world regions, they are at least twice as likely as their elders to be unemployed, besides the fact that the rules are rigged to favor those who already have a job. In some countries, education has become so expensive that students rack up heavy debts, while in many places, especially in the globally connected megacities, where young people yearn to move, housing has grown costlier that it is almost impossible to rent a flat.
The path to adulthood has become longer and more complicated, mostly because it is taking longer for young adults to establish their careers and become financially secure.
Although throughout history the old have subsidized the young, in rich countries this flow has started to reverse: Public spending favors pensions and healthcare for the old over education for the young.
From a political point of view, the situation does not look better. “My generation has a huge interest in political causes but a lack of faith in political parties,” Aditi Shorewal, the student newspaper’s editor at King’s College, London, said, as featured in The Economist.
Only 23 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 voted in the 2014 midterm elections. People over 65 comprised 59 percent. Even in the last U.S. elections, millennials made a minor portion of the total votes.
In autocracies, the young are even more disillusioned. As one report by The Economist pointed out, only 10 percent of respondents in a survey conducted in China think that young people’s career prospects depended more on hard work and ability than family connections.
Given the situation, unless world countries put more effort in helping young people to fulfill themselves, an entire generation’s talents will be wasted.