January 6, 2015, - 5:39 pm

Mythbusting: Millennials LEAST Entrepreneurial Generation in Decades, Stats Show

By Debbie Schlussel

We’ve been hoodwinked about the “Hoodie Generation.”

As it turns out, the highly-touted Millennial generation is the LEAST entrepreneurial generation in decades, starting few small businesses and far fewer than that for which they’ve been given credit. As much as I loathe him, they aren’t the Mark Zuckerberg-style entrepreneurs and inventors the media would have us believe. Not even close.


Hoodwinked ‘Bout the Hoodie Generation: Very Few Are Mark Zuckerberg-esque Entrepreneurs

Millennials, who were born between 1980 and 2000, aren’t creating the fantastical, job-producing, Willy-Wonka-Wunderkind-esque, magical stuff that will continue to make America productive. Nope, many of ’em are at home slacking off and playing Gameboy or XBox or whatever, statistics show.

We’ve been told that millennials a/k/a “Generation Y” are so entrepreneurial that they create all kinds of businesses to keep the American economy humming. We’ve been told by the conventional wisdomites that it doesn’t matter that they are the most obsessed with fame and social media, the most narcissistic, and the most ignorant of basics about history, government, and other core stuff. Because, after all, we shouldn’t judge them for being so “different,” “creative,” and “advanced” from us. We shouldn’t judge this group of people who will keep America employed.

Um, wrong (yes, some of this has to do with Barack Obama’s crappy economy and ObamaCare but not all of it):

The share of people under age 30 who own private businesses has reached a 24-year-low, according to new data, underscoring financial challenges and a low tolerance for risk among young Americans.

Roughly 3.6% of households headed by adults younger than 30 owned stakes in private companies, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of recently released Federal Reserve data from 2013. That compares with 10.6% in 1989—when the central bank began collecting standard data on Americans’ incomes and net worth—and 6.1% in 2010.

The Journal’s findings run counter to the widely held stereotype of 20-somethings as entrepreneurial risk-takers. The sharp decline in business ownership among young adults, even when taking into account the aging population, adds to worries about business formation heading into 2015, economists said. The number of new U.S. business establishments fell in the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Labor Department. . . . The decline also reflects a generation struggling to find a spot in the workforce. Younger workers have had trouble gaining the skills and experience that can be helpful in starting a business. Some doubt their ability.

Business ownership among young adults likely remained at low levels in the year that just ended, say some economists. “I wouldn’t expect to see a major pickup” in young adults starting or owning businesses this year, given that it’s easier for them to find jobs, said Robert Litan, a Brookings Institution economist. . . .

The proportion of young adults who start a business each month dropped in 2013 to its lowest level in at least 17 years, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo., nonprofit that focuses on entrepreneurship. People ages 20 to 34 accounted for 22.7% of new entrepreneurs in 2013, down from 26.4% in 2003, it found.

The plunge in business ownership captured in the Fed survey is an “interesting and worrisome finding,” said John Davis, faculty chair of the Families in Business Program at Harvard Business School. If the trend continues, he said, the U.S. economy could become less vibrant. “We need startups not only for employment, but also for ideas,” Mr. Davis said. “It’s part of the vitality of this country to have people starting new businesses and trying new things.”

The decline in young entrepreneurs is part of a broader drop in private business ownership over the past 25 years. Between 2000 and 2012, new business formation slowed even in such high-growth sectors as technology, according to economists John Haltiwanger and Ryan Decker of the University of Maryland and Javier Miranda of the Census Bureau. . . . Overall, the U.S. “startup rate”—new firms as a portion of all firms—fell by nearly half between 1978 and 2011, according to an analysis by Mr. Litan and his research partner, economist Ian Hathaway. . . .

The decline in business ownership among young graduates also reflects a relatively low appetite for risk. Young people have less confidence, said Donna Kelley, a professor at Babson College. In an annual survey she oversees, more than 41% of 25-to-34-year-old Americans who saw an opportunity to start a business said fear of failure would keep them from doing so, up from 23.9% in 2001. “The fear of failure is the measure we should be most concerned about,” she said.

I would be fearful of starting a new business under an ObamaCare-riven economy and with regulations at an all-time high.

But this is bad for America for another reason. The fear of failure wasn’t an American value. We were a brave country that took risks. It is the story of the very founding of America, a risk which many Colonist loyalists to the British Crown didn’t want to take. But we took it and went to war and won, with all odds against us.

And we took many other risks, whether it was the Louisiana Purchase or the entry into World War II (which we did kicking and screaming and not until after we were attacked at Pearl Harbor). Developing the atomic bomb was a risk in many ways and on many levels. But it defeated Japan in World War II, and our nuclear build-up under President Reagan finally broke the yoke of Communism in the Soviet Union. The Space program and sending a man to the Moon were risks and if we let failure paralyze us then, we wouldn’t have done that, nor would we have many of the technological advances we have today, many of which emanated from the space program.

So, now, we have a generation of those who fear risk and a country that fears taking any risks. We do so at our peril.

On top of that, we continue to believe the myth that things actually are “better,” and that a generation of ignorant, Facebook-addicted morons are gonna save us and are currently saving us. . . when it couldn’t be further from the truth.

If America and Americans are not inventing things and creating businesses, then we are dying. How long ’til rigor mortis sets in?


One thing not explored in the article quoted above is the attack on males and masculinity that has reached an all-time high in this generation, with the gender roles blurred completely now. That’s an important factor here because throughout American history, the great inventors and entrepreneurs have almost always been male. Now, they are relegated to future Mr. Moms or slackers, who can give up their ambitions and dreams while some women take care of them and welfare and entitlements relieve them of responsibility for sleeping around, fathering kids, and supporting families.

So there is far less incentive for men to invent things, start small businesses, etc. than there has historically been in this country. Yay, feminism!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 Responses

Different, creative and advanced?

I don’t think there have ever been so many people in this country (especially the Gen-Y) group who are “artists”, “writers” and “musicians”. Virtually none of them have any talent, but this is how they define their lives.

Or else, way too many of them are on someone’s Obamacare coverage, or getting one student grant after another, or making fools of themselves demonstrating in the streets.

Or they wind up in the ever-expanding educational (sic) system, transmitting their own idiocy to younger people.

One entrepreneurial group that is really suffering is the companies who manufacture soap, laundry items, and other personal hygiene products.

Little Al on January 6, 2015 at 5:56 pm

The gist of DS’ quite right point reminds me of how this Nation of zonked out dopes let themselves be fooled by that execrable charlatan Obola-Putin. The truth was right out there to see but only if you’re the sort that looks and appreciates the truth.

Anyone who got fooled by the myth of what DS writes about above WANTED to be fooled by it. A+B=C. The filthy spawns of the Greatest Generation have infected the country like a potent amalgamation of Ebola and full-blown AIDS. They are like the crappy toilet that keeps backing up with more feces spilling outta it the more one tries to stop it. The most self-indulgent generation (the 60s) have really set a rabid virus in motion. They were bad enough but the spawns of their spawns are even worse. ANYONE who believed the “Millennial” generation was a lot of go-getters is not just gas huffing but elephant flatulence huffing too!

I’m glad DS mentioned the sad state of men in America. I do try to stick up for men as much as I can (that’s not to be taken lightly…I used to be a militant feminist…) but they make it hard to do that all the time because the rotting culture and the unfortunate role-reversal of females have ’em rolling over like the most submissive of dogs these days. It’s quite the disease. If the men are not wimpy and cojone-less they are wimpy (or just rotten) and man whores who use women because women have chucked their dignity to the wind. There is not a lot to like in 2015.

So yeah, I was not taken in by this misnomer. What a laugh. This lot of no-hopers, fools and idiots. As if…

Skunky on January 6, 2015 at 6:14 pm

If you want know the value of the American dream just try to get some American kids to rate it.

japple on January 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm

There’s no question that regulatory issues, taxation, and sociological and psychological factors have played a role in the decline in entrepreneurship in the US, but there are other powerful interacting trends at work. And although the Obama administration has increased hurdles to entrepreneurial progress, several of the powerful trends have been taking their toll before he helped to implement those “changes you can believe in.”

One powerful such trend is that the US population–in particular, the middle class–has been slowing. Economic history indicates that when the US middle-class population is growing, or at least not declining, entrepreneurial activity increases.

Another powerful trend is the change in demographics. Twenty years ago, for example, the US had a lot more 40 year-olds than we do today. That trend too runs counter to entrepreneurial growth. However, this trend will reverse in time as number of Americans in the 40 year-old range will eventually return to previous levels, as the US population ages.

And still another overarching trend running counter to entrepreneurial growth is that there has been more consolidation occurring in businesses in virtually every sector of the economy.

On a personal, anecdotal level, I have worked with college interns and new graduates in business for about 15 years now, mostly from the middle-class, and for all the dreadful decisions being made these days by the 40 to 70 year olds in the government sector and even the business sector, the young people starting out make me optimistic about the future. The newbies that I see entering the business world today are very smart indeed, and in many ways even more mature than I was at their age.

So, in my grand view, the decline in entrepreneurial activity, while distressing, may swing back, in spite of the attacks on core American ideals and values from so many sides.

Things have a way of changing and yet normalizing in America. To paraphrase the great comedian George Carlin, today you don’t see many girls named Bertha, Edith, Blanche, Agnes, Ethel, Myrtle, Nellie, Agatha, Pearl, and Mabel in the nurseries because most of them are in nursing homes. But someday our substandard nursing homes will be filled with Ambers, Tiffanys, Caitlins, Morgans, Megans, Brittanys, Heathers, and Ashleys. And on the male side, there will be fewer Eddies, Billies, Bobbies, and Ritchies, and more Jordans, Justins, Shanes, Tuckers, Tylers, Blakes, and Codies in the nursing homes, if they make it that far.

Ralph Adamo on January 6, 2015 at 7:39 pm

In Medicine, it is increasingly easier to join groups or governmental organizations and work for them with fewer hours worked and more money made than being in private practice.

That’s not a good thing.

I am on track to be a millionaire before age 58, and a multimillionaire when I plan to retire, and I plan to put my kids through college, as well, but I do not like what I see.

Hard work is denigrated.

Occam's Tool on January 6, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Millennials are lazy stupid-ass dopes. Is that surprising ? I suppose we should think of so many blacks as being so to . Face it, the secular progressives have already won. They have reduced the future generation ( s ? ) of America to government dependent and adoring idiots.

The future generation (s) are supposed to be this country’s future leaders. Most will not lead anything and not even determine their own lives, but follow the msm feed as fact and always believe that the benevolent protective gov’t will always provide for them.

They have made themselves the slaves of the Morlochs mainly because they and their precedents were too lazy and cowardly to confront the assault on their liberties.

Welcome to the land of the all provident democrat party and what they have spawned.

Are the millennials this stupid ?
Are most blacks this stupid ?

Drink the Kool-Aid, gleefully cash your welfare check, keep reproducing, laugh as if you’ve accomplished something by leading a worthless existence. Never think that these democrats bearing ” gifts ” have actually robbed you of your humanity and dignity.

And of course, never think your life could have been different and better had you not bought into their drugs of easy welfare and following the rules to destroy your potentiality by seeking more easy welfare.

The democrats have taken care of you alright.
You might be laughing, albeit pathetically.

The democrats are laughing.

JayPee on January 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm

The one thing they’ve gotten good at is creative ways to ask for money. Two newleyweds have set up a website to fund their yearlong trip around the world. All plane tickets for each destination are listed as well as the hotels. Just click on the selection and donate.
Some may think this is charming but I think it is just creative begging. Do you think these two we’ll be willing to enter the workforce once they return, especially after living off of other people’s money?

Lars on January 6, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Perfect definition of a millennial. Entitled to everything by doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, and ( most importantly ) by being nothing.

    JayPee on January 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm

“I would be fearful of starting a new business under an ObamaCare-riven economy and with regulations at an all-time high.”

I would only add to that an impossible minimum wage. When you are starting a business, and I had my own for nine years, you often don’t make minimum wage yourself. Yet this stupid government wants you to pay your workers more than you are making.

smg45acp on January 6, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Obama has been trying to destroy the USA economy since his inauguration. That’s what the enormous ” stimulus ” spending was about. He was hoping for a crash he could blame Bush for.

    All the economic indicators were there except for one thing. China would not let the dollar crash. China’s economy was too dependent on the dollar. Stupid Obama’s plan was thwarted.

    But Obama is still trying to destroy the American economy just like you say. The whole trouble is : Is there any place for the rest of the world to go once the USA is destroyed ?

    Ideologic stupid Obama can’t answer that either.

    JayPee on January 6, 2015 at 9:44 pm


The U.S. government has not made it easy for small business.

Is that a fair statement?

The worst recession since WWII hasn’t made it easy for small business.

Is that a fair statement?

I know we’ve dumbed down everything and become Orwellian in so many respects. I also know millennials want to sit on their duffs and make money by goofing around on social media. I know there is a sad lack of work ethic.

But Deb! Don’t you think some balance can be made to your thesis? In my opinion, the economic environment in the past 14 years hasn’t been conducive to small business start-ups by young adults… or anyone for that matter.

Wadda ya think?


There is NO Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

There is NO Santa Claus on January 6, 2015 at 9:54 pm

“One thing not explored in the article quoted above is the attack on males and masculinity that has reached an all-time high in this generation, with the gender roles blurred completely now.”

I typically agree with you on just about a good number of social, financial issues DS (our antithesis is on cultural issues, where to me, it’s up to the individual and not the state, that’s why I’m anti-paternalism), but on this little issue, I sorta disagree, I think the reason why this is occurring is due to I think, superior education, and also equality and not an attack on a gender groups of people.

To the OT, I also think that there’s presumably an educational issue, where folks who were born between 1980-2000 didn’t I assume didn’t have a proper education (I’m the Generation-X crowd, where my birth-year was 1978) and didn’t attend to “training school”, where it’ll benefit them in future years to start and open up businesses. But I think there’s still believe that there’s hope for folks around or near my age bracket, and that’s “epistemology” (knowledge) on how to start a business, such as doing a “home-based”, those who’ve or still doing a home-based business are yes entrepreneurs, where they’ve done stuff for our society by putting products out on the market and so forth, so it’s not too late for the “millennial” generation since where in I think a post-scarcity society!

Sean R. on January 6, 2015 at 10:29 pm

You are back swinging and stinging. Yeah!

bed bug on January 7, 2015 at 12:42 am

Millennials are the first generation completely immersed from birth in baby-boomer/hippie’s ideological snare of insipidness and sloth.

DS_ROCKS! on January 7, 2015 at 12:55 am

Now, what are you going to do about it?

Marie on January 7, 2015 at 8:04 am

The decline of entrepreneurship is a very bad sign for the future. It portends permanent economic stagnation and social decline.

Worry on January 7, 2015 at 9:55 am

Of course, I expect the generation after that one to be a group of Debsters, as it swings back.

I TRULY admire Debbie.

Remember, Debbie, my 11 year old girl wants to be a grief counselor, and my 11 year old boy wants to be an engineer or mechanic—both expect to work hard for what they want, and both are being trained well in money management by my wife.

My son opens the car door for his dad BEFORE he opens his own. They are both very polite.

Good things are still possible.

Occam's Tool on January 7, 2015 at 11:49 am

Leave a Reply

* denotes required field