Millennials are exerting a significant influence on the future when it comes to education, healthcare, and housing because they make up more than a quarter of the total United States population, or about 85 million people. They carry an estimated $200 billion of direct purchasing power and $500 billion of indirect spending. That power will continue to grow as they age to peak buying power in their forties and fifties, with a projected $30 trillion in inheritance over the next several decades. Combine that with about $1.5 trillion in investable assets, and they will shape the economy and public policy for decades to come through new venues of communication by voicing their concerns and acting upon it.

The White House report describes millennials as the generation born between 1980 and mid-2000s and the Pew Research Center as one born between 1981 and 1996 . There is no definitive agreement on the dates. Regardless, they will continue to be a significant share of the population for decades to come as the baby boomer’s size declines. They are the most diverse and educated generation to date with 44 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group.

They have witnessed the dot-com bubble, followed by the housing and financial crisis, and two wars all within their lifetime. Despite all of that turmoil, they are more optimistic than older adults and believe that the country’s best years are ahead of them. They are redefining culture through social media. About half to two-thirds of millennials are interested in entrepreneurship, and more than 27 percent are already self-employed.

Millennial women are the first ones in modern history to start their working lives with near parity with men in terms of earnings, according a survey by the Pew Research. In 2012, among workers ages twenty-five to thirty-four, women’s hourly earnings were 93 percent of men’s.

Some of the well-known, successful millennials are Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Joe Gebbia of Airbnb, Taylor Swift the singer, and Evan Spiegel of Snapchat among others who are reshaping and creating new categories of businesses and industries.

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