Young Americans are very different today from their counterparts in 1980, bad hair and suspect clothing aside. Millennials have better access to education and are more likely to be foreign born.
But they're also more likely to live in poverty and have lower rates of employment.
These, and other societal shifts are highlighted in the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the nation's largest ongoing household survey.
The Bureau has created an interactive mapping tool -- "Young Adults: Then and Now" Census Explorer -- to help illustrate the characteristics of young adults ages 18-34 across the decades using data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Censuses and the 2009-2013 American Community Survey.
Some interesting findings:
- There are more young adults age 18-34 years old today than in the last three decades -- 73 million -- But their share of the population is actually smaller today than in 1980.
- The percentage of young adults today who are foreign born has more than doubled since 1980 (15% versus 6%).
- One in five young adults lives in poverty (13.5 million people), up from one in seven (8.4 million people) in 1980.
For more on the findings of the American Community Survey, Demographer Jonathan Vespa of the U.S. Census Bureau joined Take Two. Vespa explained that, nationally, young adults are more likely to have a college degree than their counterparts in 1980. But, they're also more likely to earn less.
Most Californian Millennials earn more than other young people their age across the nation, but the situation in Los Angeles County is more bleak. "In Los Angeles specifically, they're actually earning a little less," Vespa said.
What can the City Of Angels do to improve the situation for Millennials? Michael Lens is a Professor of Urban-planning at UCLA. He told Take Two that providing economic opportunity should be the County's top priority. "I think a lot of this has to do with the inability to attract and retain higher skilled industries, and that needs to be a focus," Lens said.
But he insists there's hope for the region. "I don't think we should be so fatalistic...I think the future is pretty bright generally speaking in California."
Check out the "Young Adults: Then and Now" Census Explorer to see how your state and county stack up.