The Ignored Millennials

The Ignored Millennials

New Leaders Council releases memo challenging pundits, analysts, and candidates to
consider all millennials, not just young college students


To: Interested Parties
From: Matti Miranda, Policy Director, New Leaders Council Innovation Foundation
Date: September 29, 2016

Subject: Not all millennials are young college students

Turning on your TV or reading your favorite news source, you will quickly find a story about millennials. Your favorite journalist will tell you that millennials are young college students. Our national candidates will court potential voters on college campuses. A business story will report on tech trends based on surveys done on 18-24-year-olds. But as part of New Leaders Council, the preeminent organization for millennials in the country, I bring some breaking news: Millennials are not just young college students.

By focusing on only the younger spectrum of the millennial generation, we dismiss the young professionals, the doctors, the lawyers, the labor leaders, and the government and public servants who also make up the millennial generation; the millennials who are trying to buy homes, to raise families, to start businesses; we dismiss the portion of the millennial generation who is equally if not more invested in our nation’s current and future landscape than our younger counterparts.

Millennials can be considered as the generation 1982-2000. Using the most recent census data[1], we estimate the number of millennials in college (18-24 yrs.) to be ~31.2M and those out of college (25-34 yrs.) to be ~44.1M. Millennials are also more diverse than any of this country’s previous generations[2]. A powerful example of a diverse cohort of older millennials can be found by looking at the NLC community. NLC alumni are past undergraduate age and members of the NLC community personify the wide scope of the future of American society; members of NLC span over 25 U.S. states, are on average 54%+ female, ~60% non- white racial background, and from almost every industry[3].

In a similar vein, posing that all 18-24 year olds are “college students” is also a flawed assessment. Just recently it was reported that 2/3 of all millennials do not have a bachelor’s degree[4]. It is not in our economic, social or democratic best interest to generalize an entire sect of people with a characteristic that applies to only 1/3.

Many in the NLC community can speak to being a part of the often forgotten overlooked bloc of the millennial generation. While it is critical for future business trends to report on the 18-24year old college students and our candidates to continue to reach out on college campuses, the stark differences between older millennials and younger millennials, degree holding millennials and those without a college education, should not be overlooked and their policy interests not overshadowed.  Here we challenge members of the media and public domains and ask that when our pundits, our analysts, and our candidates consider millennials, they don’t forget the majority of us.

[1]“US Census - American FactFinder." 2014. 28 Sep. 2016 <>

[2] “Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers and Are Far More ... -" 2015. 28 Sep. 2016 <>

[3] NLC Alumni Survey. 560 sample. Conducted by Global Strategy Group 2/11/2015

[4] "Education: The Rising Cost of Not Going to College | Pew Research ..." 2014. 29 Sep. 2016 <>