Millennials, currently 22-39-years-old according to YPulse’s definition, have taken on a much different life timeline than their parents. They’ve delayed major milestones like marriage, buying houses, and becoming parents. That doesn’t mean these things are not happening for them at all, though, or that they don’t have good reason to put off “adulting” all the way. But now, more Millennials are having kids, and the way they’ve chosen to parent has huge influence over the youngest of the next generations.
YPulse’s yearly Millennial Parenting report tracks how many Millennials are having kids (and when) and how they’re approaching this chapter of their life—or staying away from it. We also look at how they’re feeling about parenthood or the prospect of it. If you want to understand this generation of parents, it’s important to know the basics about them: how many there are, how old their kids are, and the more unique aspects of their parent status. These 3 charts show the facts to know about Millennial parents:
Close to half of Millennials are now parents
Half of Millennial parents agree that they “waited later in life to have kids,” and just how long they’ve waited is evidenced by the significant increase in parents from 18-24-years-old (19% parents) to 25-39-years-old (44% parents). And there’s even clearer divides within the oldest group: 30% of 25-29-year-olds are parents, but 44% of 30-34-year-olds and 47% of 35-39-year-olds are. Over all, 40% of Millennials are now parents.
Many put off having children for practical reasons, over the common misconception that they simply weren’t interested in becoming parents. In fact, 57% of Millennial parents say they wish they could have more kids, but they can’t afford to (and half of Millennial parents have only one child).
And while the majority of non-parents are also thinking about or planning to have kids in the future, 40% of non-parent Millennials say they don’t want to have children. But, overall 65% of 13-39-year-olds say they don’t want to bring a child into the world right now—including 52% of current parents. Finances, COVID, and concerns about social causes are prompting the younger gens to reconsider the terms under which they’ll become parents, or even how many kids they’ll have.
Their youngest children are part of Gen Alpha
YPulse defines Gen Z as ending in 2019, making the youngest of the gen currently 3-years-old, and any children born after part of the next generation: Gen Alpha. Because so many Millennials have waited to have kids, a large group of them are going to be next gen parents, compared to those currently raising young Gen Z:
It’s important to note that 62% of Millennials’ childrens are under the age of nine. This generation of parents is most likely to have younger kids, making them the biggest targets of brands making baby and toddler gear. YPulse data shows that 35% of Millennials’ children are newborn to four, making up the largest age group for their children. And, of course that group will only continue to grow, making Millennials the biggest influence on raising Gen Alpha. Brands are already trying to predict this young gen’s needs and priorities, but given their age, we’re looking to their parents for all insights.
The majority of their children are Gen Z, though, and YPulse knows all about these kids. For the 17% of Millennials’ kids who are 14-20-years-old, YPulse hears directly from them how their generation thinks and acts (which you can learn more about through our Gen Z 101 report, in addition to our behavioral and trend reports). As for those younger than 13, Millennial parents tell YPulse about their habits, which can give indicators of how Gen Alpha will be shaped. Given that Millennial parents say even their youngest children are technology, social media, and video games users, we can predict Gen Alpha’s view of the world, and expectations of brands, will be shaped by incredibly early exposure to digital platforms.
A surprising number are single parents
Plenty of parents today are raising their children on their own, for any number of reasons. But, you might be surprised just how high the number is for Millennials:
More than one third of Millennial parents are single parents. And more mothers than fathers say so; 39% of Millennial moms are single parents compared to 30% of Millennial dads. According to the Pew Research Center, “Millennial mothers are more likely than mothers from previous generations to be unmarried. Some 33% of Millennial moms living with their own children younger than 18 are unmarried, compared with 29% of Gen X moms, 23% of Boomer moms and 9% of Silent moms at the same age.” YPulse knows, though, that some Millennials are having kids without getting married, so this doesn’t mean all unmarried mothers are single parents.
Whether they’re single parent households, starting families later, or limiting their family size due to concerns about the world, Millennials are creating their own unique version of parenthood. These basic stats are the start of understanding this generation’s status as parents, but they’re also fuelling new trends in childrearing and products, and as their number grows (which we’ll continue to keep track of) they’ll become increasingly important to family-aimed brands.