The Atlantic Daily: Why Millennials Can’t Grow Up

As the oldest hit 40 (and the youngest turn 25), their experiences are fragmenting by race and class. Then: How much credence should Americans give to the lab-leak hypothesis?

Red 'A' on the Atlantic
The Atlantic

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Millennials risk becoming a lost generation. They’ve lived through not one, but two major recessions, leaving them strapped for cash and unable to accumulate wealth at the same pace as their parents did.

But not all struggle equally: Their experiences are splintering within the cohort, leaving some further behind than others, my colleague Annie Lowrey reports.

Overall, Millennials are achieving traditional markers of adulthood at different rates, depending on factors such as their race, class, location, and educational attainment. Some are grandparents. Others have been putting off child-rearing for a decade.

Here are four of these intragenerational discrepancies, as explained by Annie:

1. Getting hitched

“Millennials, in particular women, who have completed college are tending to get married older; many Millennials who did not attend or complete college are opting not to marry at all.”

2. Having kids

“Many college-educated women in cities such as San Francisco are putting childbearing off, whereas many women who did not go to college and live in rural areas are still having kids in their early 20s. … Some are already grandparents; others are looking at a half-century wait.”

3. Accumulating wealth

“The Millennial top 10 percent—who grew up in relatively wealthy families and went to selective colleges—are doing just fine. But poorer Millennials—particularly those without a college degree—remain far, far behind. … The skew becomes even larger when comparing white Millennials with Black Millennials.”

4. Homeownership

“Millennials lucky enough to have their Boomer parents’ help to go to college and scrape together a down payment have benefited from the dramatic run-up in housing prices. Millennials without that help, in many cases, remain shut out, pushing down the generation’s overall rate of homeownership.”

Read Annie’s entire piece.


What to read if … you want to understand the controversy around the lab-leak hypothesis:

“Pro-Trumpers want to use Chinese misconduct—real and imagined—as a weapon in a culture war here at home,” our staff writer David Frum argues. “What the rest of us should want is the truth.”


One question, answered:

An anonymous reader reports that their daughter is being cyberbullied. Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer offer advice on how to handle the situation in our latest “Homeroom” column:

You should do what you can to shield her from further abuse, as difficult as that may be. While exploring potential approaches, be sure to prioritize Pam’s agency rather than acting on your own.

Keep reading. Every Tuesday, Abby and Brian take questions from readers about their kids’ education. Have one? Email them at homeroom@theatlantic.com.


Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

These pristine landscapes border on the surreal. Explore this extraordinary photography collection.

A break from the news:

The body’s most embarrassing organ is an evolutionary marvel.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.