10 Charts Proving 20-Somethings Are Not the Lazy Narcissists the Media Makes Us Out to Be

A group of 20-somethings sitting around a table having an in-depth discussion
ByMeredith Lepore

Millennials have gotten a bad rap over the years. We are perceived to be lazy, entitled, spoiled brats who aren't team players and expect to be handed promotions (while never having to look up from our smartphones).

TIME magazine's infamous article "The Me Me Me Generation" said that people in their 20s are nearly three times more likely to suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. But then again, when you're young, who isn't constantly thinking about their lives or what they should be doing?

Gen Y has a lot more going on than the standard researchers may believe, and these charts and graphs prove it. Below are 10 charts proving 20-somethings aren't the lazy, narcissistic bunch we're made out to be.

1. We're the most entrepreneurial generation.

Baby boomers may be harder working and more cost-effective, but gosh darn millennials have spirit when it comes to starting companies. Yes, one could point out that it is better to be hard working, but as PolicyMic's Brett Scuton points out, millennials came of age in a terrible recession. This resulted in many of them staying in school longer, so is it any wonder we're so entrepreneurial?

He also notes that when millennials reach the age of Baby Boomers, they will be entrepreneurial problem solvers with average numbers in other traits. Take that, Gen X!

2. We want to be good parents.

Seflish, schmelfish. From this chart, it is clear that millennials are just as old-fashioned as Baby Boomers, if not more so. Family matters most, and fame and fortune are much less important.

Millennials (like older adults) place parenthood and marriage far above career

3. In fact, being a good parent and helping others is ranked as one of our top life goals.

Young people (ages 18 to 29) put more emphasis than older people (30+) on being good parents, helping others in need and being successful in high-paying careers.

Millennials place more importance on being successful in high-paying careers than they do on living a religious lives. Some 15% say being successful in their careers is one of the most important things in their lives.

4. But we're also not in a rush to get married (probably because we want to be good parents).

We know that we need to focus on our careers first. Members of Gen Y are less likely to be married or have children than members of previous generations when they were in their 20s. The fact is, we know we need to wait to provide the best living situation for our families.

5. We're more likely to take care of an elderly family member more than any other generation.

More than any older generation, Gen Y feels it's our responsibility to take care of our parents when they get older.

In a 2005 Pew Research Center survey, 63% of millennials (ages 18-25 at the time) said that it is an adult child's responsibility to allow their older parents to live with them.

6. We want to do meaningful work.

Boston College

Unlike the stereotype that they are super entitled and just want to be CEOs for the sake of being CEOs, this chart shows that Gen Y actually wants to make a difference and contribute something to the world even if we don't get paid for it. 

7. Doing "work that I love" is top of Gen Y's agenda when starting a new job.

Good communication and relationships are crucial in a work environment for Gen Y, who regard their colleagues as friends and extended family.

8. We want to do work that excites us, allows to a chance to learn and grow and use our talents.


What we want is to use our talents doing work we love. That's way more important to us than money (although that's important too). Millennials also want mentors, meaning we prefer feedback.

9. The recession has caused us to be very concerned with financial security.

Yes, we actually do know what a 401k is. This probably has a lot to do with millennials growing up during the recession and getting a glimpse of how important having financial security really is. Not looking so irresponsible right now are we? 

10. We're more socially responsible when it comes to buying products.

Gen Y may shop more than the other generations, but we also put in the effort to research the companies we give money to.