Suzanne Fields

You'll find no twerkers in this survey and few women who "lean in." Women in this cohort have more education than men, and both men and women have fewer job opportunities than their parents or grandparents did.

One in eight of the older millennials are now living at home, largely because of harder times. What's touching is that a majority says they're willing to return the favor, showing a sense of responsibility and generosity toward an aging parent who may want to come live with them.

Statistical surveys don't reach personal stories, and there's certainly a disconnect between the millennial optimism and their current reality. They usually want to marry and have children, and rank such aspirations far above achievement in a career.

Nevertheless, they aren't marrying or working up to those expectations. Only 26 percent have tied the knot. That's considerably lower than 36 percent of the Gen Xers, 48 percent of baby boomers and 65 percent of the silent generation at their age. Almost half of the millennial women have children out of wedlock. There's less stigma, but there's also less child support.

They want an active big government, and think health insurance is the government's responsibility. Like nearly everyone else, they don't much like Obamacare. It's precisely this group President Obama tried to reach this week when he stooped to plug government health care on Zach Galifianakis' online cult comedy show.

The millennials are on track to become the most educated (or most "schooled") generation in American history, but what they'll do with that education is not clear. Of the three generations living before them, they're the only group that takes no pride in the "work ethic."

They don't dress for success, 4 in 10 have tattoos (usually more than one) and they pierce their skin in places beyond their earlobes. They'll have to change the dress code if they're lucky enough to find a job in an office. A majority says the older generations are superior to them in both moral values and work discipline. The millennials still have a lot to prove when they grow up.


Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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