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How do you know if you're a millennial?
Apparently it doesn't depend on whether you've invented brilliant technology that will change the world or whether you're eating your third meal of the day in bed in your shoebox apartment surrounded by participation trophies.
According to the Pew Research Center, being a millennial has nothing to do with being spoiled, lazy or obsessed with social media, or being annoyed about your generation being unfairly stereotyped as spoiled, lazy or obsessed with social media.
It simply comes down to whether you were born between 1981 and 1996, which is slightly different from the U.S. Census Bureau, which considers those who were born between 1982 and 2000 as millennials. So if you are currently between 21 and 37, like it or not, you're a millennial.
"In order to keep the millennial generation analytically meaningful, and to begin looking at what might be unique about the next cohort, Pew Research Center will use 1996 as the last birth year for millennials for our future work," Pew Research Center president Michael Dimock wrote.
Being part of the millennial generation means constantly trying to dispel misconceptions of older generations about work ethic, dating life, and spending habits. It also means having the younger Generation Z breathing down your neck as a force to be reckoned with.
The Pew Research Center instead uses some key events to define the millennial generation's view of the world, from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, to the historic election of Barack Obama as president in 2008. Of course, there's also the millennial generation's familiarity and ease with technology, which one study has found gives them weaker hands.
There also is the fact that millennials have dealt with a less-than-stellar economy.
"Most millennials came of age and entered the workforce facing the height of an economic recession," Dimock wrote. "The long-term effects of this 'slow start' for millennials will be a factor in American society for decades."
Dimock also admitted that trying to define a generation is an inexact science.
"As has been the case in the past, this means that the differences within generations can be just as great as the differences across generations, and the youngest and oldest within a commonly defined cohort may feel more in common with bordering generations than the one to which they are assigned," Dimock wrote. "This is a reminder that generations themselves are inherently diverse and complex groups, not simple caricatures."
At least give the Pew Research Center a participation trophy for trying.
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