Millennials Comprise Highest Share of Single Mothers

As the largest living population—79.8 million as of 2016—millennials represent an interesting group of Americans; at once capable of revitalizing the housing sector and labor force, but interestingly delaying milestones later in life than previous generations. While some analysts assert that this young generation will enter homeownership just like Baby Boomers and Generation Xers once they marry and have children, the housing ecosystem is still holding its breath.

The Pew Research Center recently released a profile on millennials, providing a closer snapshot of this enigmatic generation:

  1. There are more millennial households living in poverty than any other generation.
    In 2016, there were an estimated 17 million U.S. households living in poverty: 5.3 million were headed by a millennial, 4.2 million by a Generation Xer and 5 million by a Baby Boomer.
  2. Millennials comprise the majority of the nation’s renters.
    In 2016, of the estimated 45.9 million rental households, 18.4 million were headed by millennials, 12.9 million by Generation Xers and 10.4 million by Baby Boomers.
  3. Approximately 50 percent of cohabitating-couple households are headed by a millennial.
    In 2016, millennials headed 4.2 million of the estimated 8.3 million households comprised of unmarried couples.
  4. For the first time ever, in 2016, millennials exceeded all other generations in the number of households headed by single mothers.
    Last year, there were 8.6 million households headed by a single mom with a child younger than 18; around 4 million of these moms were millennials.
  5. In 2016, millennials became the generation with the most heads of households identifying as multiracial.
    As of 2015, multiracial Americans had a median age of 19. About 630,000 of these millennials headed a household in 2016.

While renting may enable millennials to save money for a home, this process is complicated by their poverty rates, high rents and raising children as a single parent. However, this is a young generation marching to the beat of their own drum and it will be interesting to witness how they adapt to the current housing and labor conditions when pursuing the dream of homeownership.


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