UW-Madison graduation

UW-Madison graduates sing "Varsity" at the conclusion of the spring commencement ceremony on May 13 at Camp Randall Stadium.

In the second of our series on millennials, we point out that this cohort differs from previous generations in many ways.

One distinction is clear when comparing rates of degree attainment among young adults at points when those ages 18-33 were predominately of a single generation — 1963 for the pre-baby boom “silent generation,” 1980 for baby boomers, 1998 for Gen-Xers and 2014 for millennials. A Pew Research Center study using U.S. Census data reports that among those 18-33 in these years, 12 percent of men and 7 percent of women in the silent generation, 17 percent of men and 14 percent of women in the baby boom generation, and 18 percent of men and 20 percent of women in Generation X had earned at least a bachelor’s degree.

In 2014, what percentages of millennial men and women in that age bracket had earned at least a bachelor’s?

A. 24 percent of men; 25 percent of women

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B. 19 percent of men; 26 percent of women

C. 20 percent of men; 24 percent of women

D. 21 percent of men; 27 percent of women

Answer: D. 21 percent of men and 27 percent of women. Narrowing it to ages 25 to 34 — filtering out many whose undergrad degrees would be in progress — and using Wisconsin-only data, 28 percent of men and an outstanding 37 percent of women in our state reported earning at least a bachelor’s degree.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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— Matt Kures, UW-Extension; matthew.kures@ces.uwex.edu