• 05.05.16

Millennials Are Now The Largest Generation–Get Used To It

After years of boomer hand-wringing about what exactly is wrong with our young people, it’s time to move aside. The millennials are taking over.

Millennials Are Now The Largest Generation–Get Used To It
Getty Images: Nisian Hughes/Getty Images

If you were born between 1981 and 1997, you’re part of the largest generation now living in the United States. Millennials recently passed baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964) as the biggest generational group, according to Pew Research.


More than 75 million Americans were aged 18-34 (Pew’s definition of millennial) in 2015, compared to 74.9 million who were aged 51-69 (baby boomers). Millennials are expected to peak in number at 81.1 million in 2036, after which the generation’s mortality rate is expected to surpass the rate of immigration for that age group.

Generation X–aged 35-50 in 2015–is smaller than the boomer or millennial generations. Its span is just 16 years, not the 17-year span millennials get. And, the U.S. birth rate was slightly higher in the 1980s and 1990s than in the late-1960s and 1970s.

Millennials have been cast as the do-gooding, car-agnostic, entitled, wellness generation–some of which might even be true. Other analysis shows that millennials are, in fact, not so different from generation X, or that it’s not useful to lump 75 million people into the same pot.

Still, the size of the millennial cohort makes it hard to ignore. Increasingly, millennials will take the reins of business, government, and other organizations, dictating trends from the boardroom as much as they’ve dictated them with their shopping habits and dating preferences. If you’re one of the people whose been worried about millennials, you’ve missed your chance to stop them–they’re now in charge. But don’t get too comfortable: Generation Z is right behind them.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.