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Post-Millennials Will Be More Diverse, Higher Achieving, and Better-Educated: 4 Takeaways from the Latest Pew Report

By Henry Kronk
November 19, 2018
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The generation following Millennials has yet to take on a name, but researchers have already begun to look into their makeup, their habits, the paths their lives may take, and how they will learn. The Pew Research Center recently published its findings on the so-called ‘post-Millennials.’ While some findings mark continuations of trends, others reveal left turns that many weren’t expecting. The generation will change the look and behavior of American education.

Sometimes known as the iGen, Homelanders, or Generation Z, the post-Millennials were born between 1997 and 2012. Ranging between ages 6 and 21, they are currently spread throughout K-12 schools and have just begun to enter higher education. It is still far too early to draw well-founded conclusions. The report represents preliminary findings, especially regarding statistics relating to higher education. The following marks some key takeaways.

1. Post-Millennials are far more diverse.

American schools, collectively, barely have a majority of white learners anymore. 52% of the generation is non-Hispanic white. Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) are Hispanic, 14% are black, 6% are Asian, and other ethnicities and races make up the remaining 4%.

In urban environments, especially in western and southern states, there is no majority race or ethnicity in school. In the West, racial makeup is 40% white, 40% Hispanic, 5% black, 9% Asian, and a full 7% of other ethnicities.

2. They’re more likely to graduate high school.

Hispanic and black post-Millennials have made huge gains in high school achievement. In 1986, 70% of black learners and 61% of Hispanic students completed high school. Those figures changed around 1% by 2002. But in 2017, they stood at 77% and 76%, respectively. Asian high school attainment also bumped up from 86% to 90% in the past 15 years while rates for white learners have stuck to the low 80s consistently.

3. More live with a college-educated parent and more will pursue a degree.

In 2002, less that one-third of Millennials lived with a college-educated parent. That figure jumped up to 43% for post-Millennials in 2018. That influence has likely factored in to the growing pursuit of a college degree. 59% of the generation are expected to attend college, compared to 53% of Millennials in 2002. These gains have been made primarily among black and Hispanic communities.

4. They’re less likely to work during high school and college.

Fewer than one-in-five 15- to 17-year-olds in 2018 said they had worked during the previous calendar year. That’s a decline from 30% of Millennials, 41% of Gen Xers, and 48% of Baby Boomers. While this might irk members of older generations, Pew Researchers say the generation is less ‘at-risk.’

As they write, “A common indicator of “at-risk” behavior in the transition to adulthood is the share of youth who are neither enrolled in school nor working. Youth who are detached from school and the workplace may not be acquiring valuable learning experiences and networking opportunities. Post-Millennials are less likely to be detached than earlier generations. The shift has been more significant among young women. Only 9% of 16- to 21-year-old post-Millennial women are detached in 2018. About 12% of Millennial women and 16% of Gen X women were neither in school nor working at a comparable age. Post-Millennial women who are detached are far less likely to be married than detached Gen X women were at a similar age (12% vs. 37%).”

While American primary and secondary education has already felt and begun to respond to this diverse wave of new learners, American higher education has yet to see them emerge in full force.

Featured Image: Jens Johnsson, Unsplash.