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Born in the last two decades of the 20th century, Generation Y is likely to be the driving force of the 21st Century. They are often called millenials and even echo boomers because their population is as large or possibly even larger than that of the baby boomers. Generation Y is the most technologically literate generation so far.
Generation Y comprises the most technologically literate generation in history. According to surveys done of members of Generation Y when in college, 97% of them owned a personal computer and 94% of them owned cell phones. For many of them, texting has become their most common method of communication. These are the children who have mostly grown up with a computer or computers in their homes and almost certainly in their schools.
In fact, some members of Generation Y were among the first to experience a new alternative form of education, the online classroom. Many states began offering the option of attending an electronic classroom from home instead of attending a brick and mortar school. While there was also a considerable rise in the occasion of home schooling for Generation Y, for many the self-paced and self-directed computer based learning was more comfortable and successful than attending traditional classes.
Sociologists usually define Generation Y as the cohort born from about 1980 or a couple of years earlier until the end of the 1990's. Like the baby boomers, Generation Y is a very big generation, estimated to be from about 76 million strong to as many as 80 million, which would be even larger than the boomers. This has lead to Generation Y also being dubbed as the “echo boomers.”
A name many members of Generation Y often prefer, however, is one they gave to themselves: the millennials. They like this name both because it links them to the century in which they will spend their adult years, and because it separates them from Generation X members. The generation is also often just abbreviated to Gen Y or even Y Gen.
Probably due in some part to the interconnectedness of the internet age, those in Generation Y are very social and gregarious as a rule. They are great users of the online social media and have used e-mail and instant messaging most of their lives. Online they are probably the largest group using the social media sites such as My Space, Face Book and Twitter. Online and while texting they are quite likely to use a written shorthand of shortened and phonetically spelled words to speed up their exchanges.
Generation Y is just becoming a significant part of the workforce in a time when jobs are scarce and their numbers of job seekers are high. The payment of payroll taxes by members of Generation Y will play a large role in many government entitlement programs and whether Social Security and Medicare remain viable may depend upon their earning ability.