5 Things Millennials Do Later Than Previous Generations Did

For millennials — young adults ages 18 to 33 — life unfolds a bit more slowly than it did for previous generations. Blame it on their entrepreneurial spirit or the Great Recession, but either way millennials have been hitting life's landmarks — marriage, mortgages, babies — at a rate that's startlingly delayed from the timetables followed by every generation before them. (See also: The 5 Most Important Financial Lessons People Learn in Their 20s)

Read on for our roundup of the things millennials are putting off — and social scientists' best guesses as to why.

1. Buying a Home

The homeownership rate among young adults ages 18 to 34 dropped this year to a new low of 13%, according to U.S. Census Data. Meanwhile, nearly a third of young adults in this age bracket are living at home with their parents. And instead of buying or renting, those who do leave Mom and Dad's basement are more often bunking with friends or siblings. Experts say the hurting job market and high lending rates are among the top culprits of this shortage in home sales.

2. Saying "I Do"

More than 30% of millennial women are on track to remain unmarried by their 40th birthday, according to Urban Institute research. That's double the rate of unwed 40-year-old women from Gen X. The reasons are societal. Where marriage used to mark the start of adult life, today's millennials typically embark on that journey as single college students. Increasingly millennials have come to believe they can coexist with a partner and raise a family without the vows and white gown. College educated millennials, however, are more likely to marry than those without higher degrees.

3. Making Babies

Millennial women are putting off motherhood at higher rates than any previous generation, and experts say it's largely because they're focusing on getting their financial footing before even thinking about building a family. In fact, the birth rate among women 20 to 24 is at an all-time low, according to Brookings Institution research. Women in particular are making more time for career and education before becoming pregnant. For each year motherhood is put off, career earnings increase by 9%, according to an economics expert from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

4. Building Loyalty to a Company

Millennials change jobs every two years, more than twice as often as the generation before them. In fact, studies show that 78% of twenty-somethings not only want to swap jobs, they're looking to change careers altogether. What they're on the hunt for is fulfilling assignments, opportunities to enrich their skill set, and, above all, greater flexibility.

5. Buying a Car

"Unlike baby boomers and Generation X, it's from the internet that millennials derive their sense of freedom, not from owning cars," writes Bloomberg View contributor Leonid Bershidsky. And we've got numbers to back it up: Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 bought just 27% of all new vehicles sold in America in 2010, down from a peak of 38% in 1985, The Atlantic reports. Instead, Bershidsky writes, millennials are more interested in smartphone apps that can connect them to carsharing services, public transportation offerings, and maps that direct them to the nearest and best sushi spot.

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