Fact Sheet

Age range of Millennials (2021): 25–40

Millennials’ share of the U.S. population (2020): 22.0%

Birth years of Millennials: 1981–1996

Millennials now make up the largest proportion of the workforce

Share of Overall Power

Millennials hold 14.5% of Overall Power in the Generational Power Index


The Millennials—sometimes known as “Gen Y”—are the cohort born between 1981 and 1996. This generation now makes up the largest portion of the U.S. population. The oldest members of this generation are now entering their 40s and the youngest are in their mid-twenties. Many Millennials are now becoming the parents of a new cohort: Generation Alpha.

Millennials are the first digital natives and their early lives were shaped in part by the rise of the internet, social media, and smartphones. In addition to technological disruption, Millennials have faced economic upheaval. The most unlucky in this cohort have so far faced three recessions in their adult lives: the bursting of the Dotcom Bubble, the Global Financial Crisis, and the turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This, combined with rising housing costs and tuition, have stunted this generation’s wealth accumulation thus far.

Millennials are famously blamed for “killing” everything from department stores to live TV. Indeed, as this cohort becomes more influential, they are reshaping a number of industries based on their evolving preferences and values.

As of 2021, Millennials make up 22% of the population. In our GPI, this segment of the population lags in the economic category but dominates the digital platforms portion of the Culture category.

What’s in a name? This generation was originally called Generation Y – a nod to the preceding Generation X. The term “Millennials”, coined by authors Neil Howe and William Strauss, began to catch on since the older side of the cohort was reaching adulthood at the dawn of a new millennium (beware Y2K!). The term “Echo Boomers” was floated as an option since many Millennials are the children of Baby Boomers, but the name failed to catch on.