Simanaitis Says

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I HEARD THE TERM “DEN-MOTHERING” recently in a discussion of Millennial trends, which got me researching this cohort’s general social patterns. Here in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow are tidbits gleaned from my usual Internet sleuthing. (Alas, the only den-mothering I could find had to do with scouting, but I suspect there’s another meaning au courant). 

Definitions. Pew Research defines Millennials as anyone born between 1981 and 1996. Here’s how they fit into social generations in the longer scheme, according to Wikipedia.

Image by Cmglee from Wikipedia.

Ha. I find myself toward the end of the Silent Generation, though this supposedly traditional quiet bunch also gave us The Rolling Stones, hippies, and the civil rights movement.

Plenty of Millennials. There are 92 million Millennials around, which according to Goldman Sachs makes them the biggest generation in U.S. history. Even all those Baby Boomers amount to only 77 million.

Still “At Home.” As Goldman Sachs observes, almost 30 percent of them still choose to live with their parents. This may be in part because of life’s complexities: Millennials have been subject to the 90’s tech boom/bust, the 2008-2009 Great Recession, and then Covid.

But Not Rolling in Dough. Exploding Topics notes, “Millennials are the most educated generation ever. More than one-third of Millennials overall, and two out of five Millennial women, have a college degree.” 

Image from Exploding Topics. 

However, fat lot of good it did them. “Despite all of these educational accomplishments,” the website says, “this generation is ‘on a much lower trajectory of wealth accumulation than their parents and grandparents,’ according to New America. As the TIAA Institute reports, Millennials have high levels of debt, low levels of savings, and expensive money management choices.”

Paying Off That Student Loan. Exploding Topics says, “Experian recently analyzed its database and found that the average Millennial is more than $87,000 in debt. The company reports that the average student loan debt in this group is $38,877.” 

Note, about 45 percent of Millennial debt is student-loan related. Image by Lotus Head from Wikipedia.

Hmm… I used the government’s CPI Inflation Calculator to compare this with my own experience back in the 1960s. This average student loan debt equates to around $4600 in 1969 dollars, the year I got my Ph.D. and employment at College of the Virgin Islands. I don’t recall the amount of my student loans (certainly less than $4600), but do recall repayment wasn’t onerous, especially with the government forgiving half of it because of CVI being a Land Grant college.

It’s one reason I’m all for President Biden’s effort to forgive student loans. It’s only fair after my getting to enjoy the Caribbean. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023


  1. Jack Albrecht
    March 27, 2023

    I’m also 100% for student loan forgiveness. I was very careful in picking my parents, who felt it was one of their jobs to get us kids through (state) college debt-free.

    I moved abroad and started my own company six years out of university. If I had the kind of debt back then that most college grads have now, I very likely would not have taken that risk. It was one of the best decisions (after risking giving my wife that first kiss!) I ever made, and I would like young folks today to have that same freedom I enjoyed!

  2. Bill Rabel
    March 27, 2023

    It’s likely that “The Rolling Stones, hippies, and the civil rights movement” were a reaction to the Silent Generation?

    • simanaitissays
      March 27, 2023

      No, what I had in mind was the “Silent” Generation includes both Martin Luther King Jr and Mick Jagger. Perhaps instead of hippies I should have said the beat generation.

  3. -Nate
    March 29, 2023

    Hm ;

    I’m a big believer in quality and free public education but I’m a Blue Collar schmoe who thinks if one takes on a debt, they have a duty to repay it .

    If you stop smoking the money $aved can whittle that College debt down faster than you’d think .

    Addition is cumulative after all .

    Free College and University is the right thing to do and God knows there’s trillions of Dollars to give to the 1% so why not ? .

    Not everyone is suited to higher education ~ I never graduated high school and am doing just fine but then I don’t expect to be buying new cars or a house where College educated Citizens live either .

    Choices have responsibilities so choose wisely , your future is in the choices you make .

    Always time to begin anew in America .


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