Are millennials lazy whiners or victims of circumstance? | Michael Hobbes | Big Think | Summary and Q&A

June 30, 2018
Big Think
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Are millennials lazy whiners or victims of circumstance? | Michael Hobbes | Big Think


Millennials face economic challenges due to rising costs of housing, education, and healthcare, while wages remain stagnant. They are burdened with student loan debt and lack the same security and benefits as previous generations.

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Key Insights

  • โ“ Stereotypes about entitlement and selfishness in millennials are unfounded and do not represent the entire generation.
  • ๐ŸŽ“ The economy has shifted, making it harder for millennials to find affordable housing, access healthcare, and afford education.
  • ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Rising costs of education and student loan debt prolong financial insecurity and delay major life milestones.
  • ๐ŸšŸ The responsibility to save for retirement is increasingly placed on millennials, as secure pensions are no longer common.
  • ๐ŸŽ“ Millennials face the pressure of needing a college degree to secure good jobs, but at the same time, college costs have become increasingly burdensome.
  • ๐Ÿค‘ The economic challenges millennials face can be addressed by implementing equitable policies, including taxing the rich and investing in public services like education, housing, and transportation.
  • โ—€๏ธ Reversing the effects of previous policies and prioritizing an equitable society is essential for millennials to thrive.


So, there are three things that every millennial should know. The first one is that there is no evidence for any of the stereotypes about us. If you look at entitlement, if you look at selfishness, if you look at public opinion polling thereโ€™s as much evidence that weโ€™re โ€œworse than our parentsโ€ as there is that we are werewolves: There is none. Wh... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What evidence disproves the stereotypes about millennials?

The stereotypes about millennials being entitled and selfish are based on anecdotes and do not reflect the entire generation. Polls and data show no substantial evidence supporting these stereotypes.

Q: How have housing costs changed for millennials compared to previous generations?

Millennials face significantly higher housing costs, with it taking six to twelve years of the median salary to buy a median home. In contrast, previous generations had more affordable housing options.

Q: How has the cost of education changed for millennials?

The cost of education has increased by 400% to 1200%, depending on the type of school. This increase, coupled with stagnant wages, makes it challenging for millennials to afford college without accumulating significant student loan debt.

Q: How do student loans impact millennials' financial security?

Student loans are inescapable and cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Many millennials struggle to pay off these loans, which delay their ability to save, invest in a home, and contribute to a pension.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Stereotypes about millennials are not supported by evidence, while the evidence shows that economic conditions are more difficult for this generation than for previous ones.

  • Costs of housing, healthcare, and education have significantly increased, while wages have not kept up.

  • The rising cost of education and student loan debt contribute to longer periods of insecurity and delay in milestones like marriage, children, and homeownership.

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