It’s difficult to imagine any generational similarities between a college student who’s learning how to become independent and a person who is married with kids.
And yet, categorizing these two different groups of people into one collective group happens often. Actually, in my case, it usually happens every week with this column. The millennial age range encompasses people from 18 up to 33-years-old, or those born between the early 1980s and late 1990s. However, I don’t think classifying these different age groups into a single category is the best and most accurate way to do so.
Millennials are known as the most diverse generation, but rather than have things such as race, gender and sexuality influence how this generation is categorized, they should be grouped by major norms. With this said, instead of grouping millennials into one large entity, like we usually do, millennials from 18–24 years old should constitute one group and those above 25 should form another.
Clearly differentiating the two from each other as separate subgroups of millennials would not only help gain a more accurate representation of the generation’s behaviors and norms, but also further develop research on their financial norms and social habits.
Statistical evidence in a Jun. 14 Financial Brand article shows the difference between these two age groups. For example, the article reported that 29 percent of millennials in the younger age group manage their own finances, compared to 51 percent of older millennials.
In some ways, it makes sense to categorize millennials into one group, since most millennials do have the commonality of Baby Boomer parents, with the exception of some from Generation X. But the fact that millennials have been raised by the same generation definitely does not automatically mean they will turn out with similar characteristics. A millennial born in 1981 was 15 years old by the time someone was born in 1996, and a society can be significantly different during that time. And although this may also be applied to past generations, in the case of millennials this age gap has influenced millennials’ use of technology.
It’s true, millennials are a tech-savvy generation, but it’s not accurate to say that all millennials are at the same level when it comes to technology.
Millennials experienced the spread of the Internet and technology at different stages in their lives. For example, a 2013 Jul. 17 Barkley study reported that 44 percent of millennials who are now parents chose Wal-Mart when asked which retailer they would purchase from for the rest of their lives. The other options included Amazon and Target. Surprisingly, the generation that is crazy for the virtual world, did not pick online-marketplace Amazon.
These are major principles that define the millennial generation. And since there is a significant difference between the two groups’ relationships with technology, it would be more precise if this was addressed.
Not only did we not grow up in the same time, but there events that impacted the older millennial generation differently than the younger millennial generation. The introduction of mainstream technology and easy virtual accessibility was at radically different points in millennials lives. All millennials don’t share core values that define the millennial generation — it’s time to differentiate between the older and younger millennials.
Tamara Rasamny is an international relations and newspaper and online journalism dual major. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @Tam_Rasamny.