More Young Adults Live With Parents Than Their Partners - for the First Time in 130 Years

Live with your parents again? Chances are you’re not lazy, or a loser, or any other stigma that might be hovering in your subconscious due to cultural stereotyping; you’re just a normal millennial responding to the economic realities of the age. For the first time in 130 years, more Americans between ages 18-34 are living with their parents than in any other living situation. That is according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center published May 24 based on national census data from 2014.

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Here’s What ‘Social Liberal but Fiscal Conservative’ Millennials Just Don’t Comprehend

In the past several days, the news media have been reporting from airports such as O’Hare or LAX where the lines to go through security are longer than the waitinglist for Hamilton. Many of the folks standing in those lines have reported missing flights, which then creates flights that are overcrowded with the folks from the earlier connections that didn’t get made.

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This Is the One Change by Millennials That Will Change Absolutely Everything

Let’s take a look at the era that began in 2001, when the first Millennials graduated college, got jobs and started families. Eight years later, in 2009, Millennials drove 23 percent fewer miles on average than their same-age predecessors did in 2001. That is, their average mileage—VMT, or vehicle miles traveled—plummeted from 10,300 miles a year to 7,900, a difference of 2,400 miles a year, or 46 fewer miles a week.

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The Movie Every Screwed Millennial Should Watch

Jennifer Phang’s indie science fiction film “Advantageous,” a darling of 2015’s Sundance, came to Netflix Instant Streaming earlier this week. If you’re a millennial, you have Netflix. If you’re an un- or underemployed millennial, you have time. Every un- or underemployed millennial needs to see this movie.

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America Has a White Millennial Problem

Nearly any time Democrats lose an election, there is a pervasive narrative that, just around the bend, there will be an “emerging Democratic majority.” Originally projected to occur between 2004 and 2008, it now appears further away than ever after last month’s midterm blowout. Republicans have a stranglehold on the House, where they control their largest number of seats since 1948. That lead will be incredibly tough to chip away at. Democratic chances of regaining the Senate in 2016, once considered a near certainty, are looking iffy. Republicans control 31 governorships, as well as 68 of 98 state legislative chambers. Democrats still have a strong chance of winning the presidency, but given the importance of the states for shaping income distribution and policy, even that victory will ring hollow.

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Surprise: A Majority of Millennials Don't Have a College Degree - That’s Going to Cost Everybody

There’s a lot of hoopla in the media about how Millennials are the best-educated generation in history, blah, blah, blah. But according to a Pew survey, that’s a distortion of reality. In fact, two-thirds of Millennials between ages 25 and 32 don’t have a bachelor's degree. The education gap among this generation is higher than for any other in history in terms of how those with a college degree will fare compared to those without. Reflecting a trend that has been gaining momentum in the rest of America, Millennials are rapidly getting sorted into winners and losers. Most of them are losing. That’s going to cost this generation a lot —and the rest of society, too.

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Millennials Overwhelmingly Oppose Drug War and Support Legal Marijuana

The following first appeared in Cannabis Now

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Editorial: Will You Help Fix the Retirement Crisis? It Will Affect All of You, Eventually

Yes, every organization is beating the drums for end-of-the-year contributions (including us). All of that fundraising is for general support, which is very important. But we want to offer you an alternative way in which to invest your money for the future. 
Unless we get serious and do something about it now, we are quickly heading for a massive retirement crisis—not just for the huge population of aging boomers, but for generations to come. It has to be fixed, but our leaders are intent on making it worse. 
Two-thirds of working Americans will not be able to maintain their standard of living when they retire, sending many into poverty or near-poverty. And none of this is our fault. Millions of boomers, Gen Xers and so on have not been able to save for the future. Pensions have disappeared. Wages have been flat. Healthcare costs have spiraled. Private plans like 401(k)s and 403(b)s haven't kept up. There have been recessions, waves of high inflation and unemployment. 
Social Security and other benefits have to be fixed and expanded. The frustrating part is that it is all easily fixable. But the political establishment from Barack Obama to the billionaire propagandist Pete Peterson to the Washington Post editorial page, are hard at work to make it worse, by cutting benefits instead of expanding them.
AlterNet has pledged to make covering the retirement crisis a top priority in 2014. 
We will work on this issue relentlessly. But we need it to be funded by our readers. We have no grants for this work. We will produce dozens of articles and explain what everyone can do to change the political dynamic. Already, Elizabeth Warren has taken up the cause. If you can give us $10 or more for this work, we will list your name at the end of every article (with your permission). Will you give whatever you can right now ?  
To sum up the problem and the solution, here are nine key facts about the crisis to keep in mind:
  1. Americans over age 65 are projected to increase from 14 percent of the current population to about 21 percent of the population by 2035.
  2. The Social Security Trust Fund had a surplus of $2.54 trillion in it at the end of 2011, and is projected to be solvent until 2033.
  3. Though most people don't know it, Congress has cut Social Security payments by 24 percent since 1983, via delayed cost-of-living increases and higher taxes.
  4. One-third of seniors live only on SS benefits, which is an average of only $1,274 a month per retiree. For two-thirds of retirees, the Social Security benefit is more than half of what they live on.
  5. The wealth gap is skewed extraordinarily by race. For every dollar a white person has in savings, a Latino person has only 6 cents and a black person has only 5 cents.
  6. Gender is a huge issue: Seven out of 10 seniors living under 125 percent of the federal poverty line ($14,360) are women.
  7. Social Security is also the largest federal government program helping children, with 6.5 million recipients, totaling 8 eight of every 100 children in the U.S. in 2012.
  8. Many people don't realize that no Social Security taxes are paid on incomes over $117,000—so the wealth get off very easily. Slightly raising Social Security payroll taxes would more than cover and sustain the expansion of Social Security.
  9. Huge numbers of Americans support Social Security reforms, with 87 percent of the population in favor of scrapping the $117k cap and 82 percent in favor of slight Social Security tax increases.
Why do wealthy power brokers want to cut Social Security taxes which they themselves grossly underpay? That is the question at hand. There is no other issue in America where those in power are so out of sync with the voters and the people. 
A series of simple, fair-minded fixes would not just make Social Security solvent for decades, but would allow us to expand the benefits so no Americans fall into poverty as they age. That is a worthy goal for all of us, don't you think?
Please, if you agree that the retirement crisis requires very effective public education and organizing, then please support our Retirement Crisis Campaign. Every little bit helps. You will be working in your own interest and on behalf so many fellow Americans in need. Please make a contribution before 2013 ends. 
Lots of love for 2014,

Goodbye Religion? How Godlessness Is Increasing With Each New Generation

Something strange is happening to American teenagers. If you believe popular wisdom, young people are apathetic, cynical and jaded; or, they're supposed to be conformists whose overriding desire is to fit in and be popular. But if you've been paying close attention over the past decade, you might have seen any of a growing number of cases that conspicuously defy these stereotypes: stories of teenagers who have strong principles they're unashamed to display and which they're committed to defending, even at great personal cost, against the bullying of a hostile establishment.

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What the World Might Look Like When the Millennials Run It

If you can't remember a time when the world was not wired, you are a member of the Millennial Generation -- the 33 million Americans between the ages of 15 and 25. You are special. You are different. The fate of the planet is on your shoulders. No pressure.

Before your arrival, the largest, richest and most influential generation in American history were your parents -- the Baby Boom Generation -- the some 78 million Americans born to G.I. Dads and Lindy-hopping Moms in the years after the end of World War II. Succeeding them, born between 1964 and 1977, was Generation X, clocking in much smaller, at 37 million. But with over 80 million Americans born after 1977, Generation Y is the new large and in charge generation. Gen Y includes Echo Boomers (loosely defined as the children of the Boomers born after 1977), and Millennials, (those born after 1982). Like their Boomer parents before them, the opposite ends of the Gen Y/Echo/Millennial generation are vastly different from each other. And Millennials, say experts, "are unlike any other youths in living memory: More numerous, more affluent, better educated and more ethnically diverse than those who came before." Those words from William Strauss and Neil Howe, social scientists who coined the term "millennial" in their book Millennials and the Pop Culture (LifeCourse Associates, March '06).

Perhaps the most outstanding detail that distinguishes this generation -- from even those born just a couple of years earlier -- is their level of media consumption, particularly online. Today, the average teenager spends more than 72 hours a week using electronic media -- cell phones, internet, television, music and video games -- according to a 2006 study.

"There's an intense focus on openness, sharing information, as both an ideal and a practical strategy to get things done," explained Mark Zuckerberg, 23-year-old Millennial wüunderkind and founder and CEO of Facebook, in a recent interview with Fast Company. On, students log in daily to chat, flirt and connect -- the average user frittering away eight hours a month on the site.

All that time spent social networking has indoctrinated Millennials into the cult of groupthink, refashioning them into the most collaborative and team-oriented generation the world has seen in many a decade. This manifests in "a wide array of positive social habits that older Americans no longer associate with youth, including a new focus on teamwork, achievement, modesty and good conduct," say Strauss and Howe.

Millennials spend 16 hours a week on the Internet -- and that's not including emailing. Recent research from the Pew Internet and American life project shows nearly 80 percent of the 28 and younger set regularly read blogs, compared with just 30 percent of adults 29 to 40. And roughly 40 percent of teenage and 20-something Internet users have created their own blog, as compared to just a sliver of 30-somethings -- a mere 9 percent.

Thirty-five-year-old entrepreneur and youth-marketing guru Anastasia Goodstein turned her fascination with the evolving Internet habits of Millennials' into a book, Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are REALLY Doing Online (St. Martin's Griffon, March '07). She calls Millennials the "mash up generation," because they're constantly taking bits and pieces of popular culture and then remixing them -- essentially creating their own tailored subcultures.

Out of Myspace and Into the World

But with personally-crafted online networks right at their fingertips, Millennials are confronting some harsh realities when they step outside their virtual world. Julia Dossett, a 25-year-old Marketing Associate for the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago, observes this phenomenon in the numbers of her peers who seem to resist engagement in a personal and professional commitment because "they are waiting around for the ideal to come along." This can breed apathy, resentment and a sense of entitlement.

"None of these will help my generation actually reach the potential we were encouraged to achieve as children so long ago," Dossett laments. "We were raised to believe we could do anything we wanted and be anything we wanted, and that nothing was out of reach. But now that we are young adults living away from our parents -- I think we sometimes find the choices overwhelming."

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled -- and More Miserable than Ever Before (Free Press, March '07), blames much of Millennial angst on the over indulgences of boomer parents. "They were raised by 'helicopter' parents who constantly hovered over them -- providing unending praise, support and, perhaps, unrealistic expectations that the world was their oyster," says Twenge. This group is highly optimistic -- they expect to go to college, to make lots of money, and perhaps even to be famous. The misery is produced, says Twenge, when these overly confident youngsters hit a stressed-out work place rife with uncertainty.

"Many people reaching their twenties find that their jobs do not provide the fulfillment and excitement they had anticipated," Twenge continues. "And their salary isn't enough to afford even a small house."

Millennial dissatisfaction in the workplace has not gone unnoticed by employers. Anastasia Goodstein recounts a recent Wall Street Journal article about a company that hired a praise consultant to help assuage the egos of young employees. "This is a generation used to veneration and attention and getting a pat on the back," Goodstein explains. But still, Goodstein wonders what kind of praise the consultant might offer. "Maybe 'Great job, you showed up today!' "

On, 20-something bloggers Ryan Paugh and Ryan Healy hope to "create an anonymous dialogue between our generation and the corporations struggling to understand our attitudes about work." In a recent post entitled "Where Should a Millennial Draw the Line?," Paugh writes, "Part of being an entry-level worker is just waiting for something big to come your way. In the meantime, you bite your lip and act busy. Preceding generations say it's normal. I say it sucks. If what our elders say is true, we're supposed to keep on truckin'. Eventually we'll have some real responsibility and the downtime will be nothing less than treasured. The problem is, I don't live my life on blind faith."

Richard Florida, best-selling author of Rise of the Creative Class, gets Paugh's message loud and clear. "This generation values intrinsic rewards more so than salary and benefits," says Florida. "A culture which fosters tolerance and learning is one they will seek out and thrive in. The organizations that do this best will be the ones that prosper in the creative age."

Political Scenesters

Smart, savvy and civically engaged, there is no doubt Millennials will affect profound change on the political level. When they start occupying elective offices, expect new initiatives to protect children, promote literacy and safety and reform dysfunctional educational systems. Experts also anticipate this generation will affect profound political change on a consumer level, especially concerning where and why they open their pocket books. Their loyalty will lie with socially responsible business practices.

In fact, they're dedicating their time to efforts they care about more than ever before. In 2003, 83 percent of college freshman were volunteering -- up from about 66 percent in 1990 (a side effect of increasingly competitive college acceptance rates perhaps, but nice nonetheless).

And for those dismayed by the general public's apparent distrust of smart politicians, here's a great sign: Eight in ten teens now say it's "cool to be smart." Test scores are up, and 73 percent of high school students say they want a four-year college degree.

"Two things represent my generation," concludes Chris Hales, 25-year-old CEO of Anti-Matter Media a Chicago-based multimedia company. "Technology and the 'Do-It-Yourself' aesthetic. With the increase of technology, opportunities for networking with others seem endless, enabling us to turn out more authors, films, record labels and artists than previous generations. When you put the two together you have the recipe for a generation that is willing to go out and make stuff happen on their own."

Majority of Americans want US out of Iraq

The neocons seriously can't claim the anti-war movement as fringe anymore -- 6 in 10 Americans want the troops to come home, according to a new Gallup poll. Who's on board? None other than Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones! Justin Logan writes, "So I would just beseech Mr. Jones and his colleagues: Please, the next time an administration comes to you threatening you with your political life if you don't support an imperial, deferential, arguably anti-constitutional war resolution, would you please remember that once the horse is out of the barn, it's awfully hard to get it back in?" (Justin Logan)