15 Ways Millennials Changed the World in the 2010s

“FOSSASIA 2010, Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, Raffles Institute” by FOSSASIA is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Millennials are making big changes. Many headlines have said this over the past ten years. While it might seem overused, it’s totally true. Millennials are doing things differently from their parents and making a significant impact worldwide. In 2010, they were between 14 and 29 years old. By 2020, they were 24 to 39. Here are 15 ways millennials changed the world in the 2010s!

Redefining Family Traditions

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Millennials are changing the idea of a typical American family. They are getting married and having kids later—leading to the lowest birthrate in the US in 32 years. For the first time, more women in their 30s are having babies than in their 20s, and this gap grew in 2018, according to a CDC report. One big reason millennials have fewer kids or are waiting longer to have them is money worries.

Shifting Job Habits

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Millennials are known for job-hopping—they usually don’t stay with one employer for more than a few years. They also want flexible schedules and the option to work from home. According to a report by The New York Post, half of these people are involved in the gig economy with side hustles. This is partly due to financial struggles, as their income hasn’t kept up with the rising costs of homes and education.

Reshaping Shopping Experiences

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Millennials prefer spending their money online or on experiences—which has led to changes for retailers. Many traditional clothing stores have closed or gotten smaller. They’ve also made weddings and luxury products more laid-back and helped the wellness industry grow. Overall, millennials like spending money on experiences more than stuff, which has created the “experience economy.”

Taking More Time Before Buying Homes

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Millennials are waiting longer to buy homes due to money problems—like high housing costs and fewer starter homes. Many live with their parents or roommates to save for a down payment, leading to a rise in shared living spaces in big cities. Some millennials find quicker ways to own homes by moving to cheaper suburbs or buying a house with a partner before getting married.

Waiting Longer to Tie the Knot

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Millennials are getting married later in life because they worry about divorce and want to be financially stable first. They take their time to get to know their partner and build up their savings. Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common and less stigmatized among millennials. Since they marry later and have more assets and debt—they want to protect their interests in case of a divorce.

Elevating Luxury Lifestyles

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Like other millennials, wealthy ones like spending money on experiences. But they’re willing to pay more for VIP treatment and personalized experiences. They’re also picking brands that match their values instead of just sticking with one brand. They think carefully about what they buy. Rich millennials are setting new trends and symbols of status, especially in luxury fashion.

Transforming Weddings

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Millennials are shaking up weddings: Instead of traditional venues like banquet halls, they choose places like barns and farms. They’re also going for more relaxed wedding outfits. Millennials have already stocked up on household essentials since they’re waiting longer to tie the knot and living together beforehand. That’s why gifts like “honeyfunds” and cash are more popular than traditional stuff like toasters or gravy boats.

Embracing Wellness Trends

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Health and wellness are now seen as symbols of luxury. In just two years—from 2015 to 2017—the wellness industry grew by over 12%. Millennials are at the forefront of this trend. Sanford Health named them the “wellness generation.” Some even spend more on fitness than tuition fees. They’re also opting for healthier alcoholic drinks with fewer calories and less sugar.

Embracing Social Media Trends

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Social media has opened doors for selling products online. Millennials use their large followings on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to create successful beauty brands—like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. Instagram significantly impacts what people buy and how industries develop. Millennials aren’t just buying clothes and stuff that look good on Instagram—they’re also choosing travel destinations based on how Instagram-worthy they are.

Using Sharing and Rental Services

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Millennials are often labeled as the “generation rent,” and the rise of rental services over the past decade explains why. There’s Rent the Runway for fashion, Lyft for rides, Airbnb for travel, Fernish for furniture, and so many more rental platforms. These new companies have even pushed traditional retailers like IKEA and Urban Outfitters to start their own rental services to compete.

Modernizing Dating Culture

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Online dating wasn’t a new concept in the 2010s, but it got a big makeover with apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble. Millennials are using these apps not just to find love but also to flaunt their wealth and status. According to Tinder’s relationship expert, millennials challenge traditional ideas and want more freedom. When they’re ready for love—some are even hiring experts for $5,000 to help them navigate dating apps.

Embracing Entrepreneurial Ventures

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Millennials are spotting gaps and creating new opportunities in different industries to meet their need for convenience. They’re set to become the most entrepreneurial generation yet. Some startups, like Glossier in the beauty industry, have grown thanks to social media. Online retail startups are using social media to reach out to their fellow millennials as part of their marketing plans.

Standing Up for Causes

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Millennials are more open to talking about money with their friends, siblings, and coworkers than baby boomers. You can see this trend in the media with shows like Refinery29’s Money Diaries and the Ashton Kutcher-produced “Going From Broke,” which deals with student debt. Money worries can affect millennials’ mental health, but they’re facing it by normalizing therapy and reducing its stigma.

Confronting Financial Struggles

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Millennials are comfortable discussing money and putting off major life events because many are dealing with debt. The New York Federal Reserve reports that millennials have gathered over $1 trillion in debt—a 22% increase in the last five years. This makes them the most indebted generation ever. That’s why most millennials see financial success as being free from debt.

Driving Social and Political Change

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Millennials are showing support for socialism: In a YouGov survey, 70% said they’d consider voting for a socialist candidate. This could be because of their debt and low wages. They’re also super engaged in social justice and equality causes—joining movements like #BlackLivesMatter and the Women’s March. Millennials were also the first group to strongly support same-sex marriage—which was legalized in 2015.