Julia and Pajama Boy, a Millennials Love Story
They chatted excitedly as they awaited his coming. Talking while texting friends, they soon realized that they both attended the same Obama for President campaign event back in 2007 while in college, although Julia had fainted and missed part of Barack’s awesome, inspirational speech.
They hardly minded when it was announced that the President had entered through a back door and was already inside the hotel – a place where their presence was prohibited by the price of admission.
Oh, well, at least they were close to him, on the same block! They snapped selfies to post on their Facebook pages to celebrate the event.
More and more selfies followed in the weeks ahead as Facebook chronicled their budding romance.
The two millennials soon found they had much in common.
They shared a pride in being part of the movement that elected Barack Obama to the White House not once, but twice! About 23 million young voters age 18-29 cast ballots in 2012 – slightly more than in 2008. They’d made a difference.
Politico.com reported that,
“Obama easily won the youth vote nationally, 67 percent to 30 percent, with young voters proving the decisive difference in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to an analysis by the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. Obama won at least 61 percent of the youth vote in four of those states, and if Romney had achieved a 50-50 split, he could have flipped those states to his column, the study said.”
Drinking flavored coffee in the café section of an organic food market, the two explore topics of interest among many Millennials.
Julia is one of the “More Americans than ever [who] live in multigenerational households.” She is, also, among the rising “number of millennials who live with their parents.” The Los Angeles Time reported on July 17, 2014 that,
“A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population, lived in multigenerational arrangements in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. That's more than double the 28 million people who lived in such households in 1980, the center said.”
Julia and P.J. have similar spending habits described in a March 3, 2013 New York Times article entitled “Do Millennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?”
“The millennials’ relationship with money seems quite simple. They do not have a lot of it, and what they do have, they seem reluctant to spend. Millennials are buying fewer cars and houses, and despite their immersion in consumer culture, particularly electronics, they are not really spending beyond their limited means. Their credit-card debt has declined, most likely because many millennials cannot get a credit card, and in part because they know they cannot afford to spend now and pay back later.”
The two find that neither has any interest in buying a car. Puzzled automobile dealers have notice that “the percentage of new vehicles sold to 18-34-year-olds has significantly dropped over the past few years.” Fastcoexist.com thinks it knows why.
“Because millennials use technology in every facet of their lives--from mobile phones to tablets and laptops--to connect with friends and family and to get work done, the tech gadget is their most prized possession, and has a much higher value to a CMC [college millennial consumers] than transportation or owning a car.”
After all, who needs personal vehicular transportation when you have the most recent Apple iPhone and E-Reader device?
When the topic invariably turns to employment, the conversation turn somber. As MarketWatch.com reported on July 3, 2014,
“The jobs market is improving, according to government data released Thursday, but millennials are still left out in the cold. They’re suffering more than any other age group, new research finds.”
“Some 40% of unemployed workers are millennials, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce released to MarketWatch, greater than Generation X (37%) and baby boomers (23%). That equates to 4.6 million unemployed millennials — 2 million long-term — 4.2 million unemployed Xers and 2.5 million jobless baby boomers.”
Both have undergraduate liberal arts degrees in soft skills disciplines and have found no employment matching their education.
Julia is unemployed, living at home with her parents.
P.J. cobbled together two jobs waiting tables at large restaurant chains. His non-college-degree-required job portends to the coming growth in employment identified by the Bureau of Labor Statics.
“The most new jobs from 2012 to 2022 are projected to be in occupations that typically can be entered with a high school diploma.”
They add up their combined college loan indebtedness, using the calculator on their iPhones. It’s a daunting number. So it’s not a topic on which they dwell. For misery loves company, but not for long.
On June 17, 2014, the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper that endorsed Barack Obama for the Presidency in 2008, reported that,
“Almost 60 percent of the 20 million Americans who attend college each year borrow to help cover costs, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Estimates put that debt at an all-time high of $1.1 trillion, larger than the onetime bogeyman of credit card debt. During the first quarter of this year alone, student debt increased by $31 billion, and that's 12 percent higher than a year ago.”
Julia isn’t able to make payments on her student loan. Nor can her parents.
P.J. makes partial payments, as long as the tips are good.
They both hope that someday President Obama will generously forgive most of the nation’s student loan debts.
As their relationship grows, the two young Americans imagine buying a home and having children. The conversations are hopeful, but brief.
Marriage is possible, but the marriage trend among millennials is toward remaining single. The title of a July 20, 2014 CNN.money.com article is “Millennials shy away from marriage.”
“Today's young adults are on track to have the lowest rates of marriage by age 40 compared to any previous generation. If the current pace continues, more than 30% of Millennial women will remain unmarried by age 40, nearly twice the share of their Gen X counterparts, according to a recent Urban Institute report.”
As for owning a home if they remain together, Julia and P.J. see a dim future, although it improved somewhat in 2014 over 2013. On April 30, 2014, USNews reported that,
“New data from the U.S. Census Bureau, however, show the rate of homeownership for those in the millennial generation has fallen to the lowest level in recently recorded history…In the first quarter of 2014, homeownership for Americans 35 and under declined to 36.2 percent, down from 36.8 percent in 2013 and the lowest on record since the census's Housing Vacancy Survey began tabulating homeownership by age in 1982. Homeownership for all ages dropped to 64.8 percent, the lowest level since 1995, a report this week showed.”
As for P.J. and Julia becoming parents – perhaps, but not soon. Today they face too many economic barriers to consider having children in any foreseeable tomorrow.
A May 24, 2014 Salon.com article, entitled “Millennials are just this screwed: The next generation will not do as well as their parents,” has little to offer in secular good news for P.J. and Julia.
One wonders how many millennials realize they are the lost generation, Barack Obama’s political cannon fodder, used-up in the battle to fundamentally change America.