“As Millennials reach a new stage of life – the oldest among them will turn 39 this year – a clearer picture of how members of this generation are establishing their own families is coming into view. Previous research highlights not only the sheer size of the Millennial generation, which now surpasses Baby Boomers as the largest, but also its racial and ethnic diversity and high rates of educational attainment. This research also notes that Millennials have been slower than previous generations to establish their own households. A new analysis of government data by Pew Research Center shows that Millennials are taking a different path in forming – or not forming – families. Millennials trail previous generations at the same age across three typical measures of family life: living in a family unit, marriage rates and birth rates.
Living with a family is defined here as living with a spouse, one’s own child (or children) or both a spouse and child. Using this definition, Millennials are much less likely to be living with a family of their own than previous generations when they were the same age. In 2019, 55% of Millennials lived in this type of family unit. This compares with 66% of Gen Xers in 2003, 69% of Boomers in 1987 and 85% of members of the Silent Generation in 1968.
Millennials lag furthest behind in the share living with a spouse and child. Only three-in-ten Millennials fell into this category in 2019, compared with 40% of Gen Xers, 46% of Boomers and 70% of Silents when they were the age Millennials are now. At the same time, the share of Millennials who live with a spouse and no child is comparable to previous generations (13%), while the share living with a child but no spouse (12%) is the same as Gen X but higher than Boomers and Silents…”