How Millennials are Changing the World


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the “Millennial Generation”—individuals born between 1980 and 1999—accounts for 80 million Americans, the largest number of people in any age cohort. Of course, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Scholars, prospective Scholars, and other high-achieving high school students are among this group.

Millennials often get a bad rap in the media and among other generations. That’s nothing new, really; every generation in the past has seemed to have conflict with the ones that preceded them.

So don’t be discouraged by the criticism you may face. No individual is perfect, every generation has their collective faults, and Millennials have a number of unique qualities to offer. In any case, they will inevitably determine the future because older generations will increasingly leave the workforce as more Millennials enter it. So let’s take a look at their most positive characteristics, their futures, and how they are already changing the world.

Millennials tend to be more adaptable than most people in other generations.

The rate of societal change is exponentially faster today than ever before due to technology and innovation. Millennials are native to this rate of change, whereas many older individuals are used to more incremental differences. As this pace is likely only to increase, Millennials on the whole will be better prepared to cope with and take advantage of change.

The Millennial population is more diverse.

Census data shows that 60 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 are non-Hispanic white, compared with 70 percent of those 30 or older; 11 percent are born to at least one immigrant parent. This has and will continue to drastically reshape contemporary culture in new and exciting ways, and is likely to contribute to development of unprecedented solutions to the world’s problems by borrowing from the wisdom of many different cultures.

Millennials are entrepreneurial and innovative.

Millennials seem to naturally gravitate toward individualism and self sufficiency, and the economic woes in recent years have probably only reinforced those tendencies. 27 percent are already self-employed, and the entrepreneur-focused Kauffman Foundation reports that almost 160,000 start-ups a month were launched by Millennials in 2011, and countless more express they desire to do so. Millennials are the job creators of tomorrow and are changing the world every day.

They want to make a difference.

According to Net Impact, a nonprofit community of students and professionals committed to solving the world’s toughest social and environmental problems, a remarkable 72 percent of today’s college students say they want a job that makes an impact. Millennials are committed to altruism and are activists and philanthropists increasingly starting their own charitable organizations.

So what kind of Millennial are you?

Making a real impact most often starts with academic success. If you really want to be a future leader, attending the nation’s most selective colleges and universities is one of the best ways to get a start—particularly if you are a high-achieving, low-income student pursuing upward mobility. You’ll have access to the best resources and best professional networks to put you on the right path.

The talents of the Millennial Generation strongly align with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s values. We are supporting the future Nobel laureates, CEOs, and award-winning artists. In fact, if you really want to see this generation in action, there is no better place to look for success stories than our own Scholars. We hope you’ll join them!