There hasn’t been a more misunderstood generation than Millennials since … well, since Generation X.

But before the Xers, there hadn’t been a more misunderstood generation since … OK fine, since the Boomers.

It’s easy to cram each generation into its own individual basket. But when these generations are coming into their own, there may be more differences than similarities between certain segments. As it turns out – at least with Millennials – sometimes there are.

In Part One of a CivicScience study on Millennials, we’ll see how they compare with each other when it comes to online streaming services and social media use.

The study drills down on two very specific subsets of Millennials: Those aged 25-29, and a second, slightly older, group, those aged 30-34. And unless otherwise noted, this study looked at data collected over the last year.

Social Media

Social media use among Millennials aged 25-29 is significantly higher across the board, but it’s most striking in people who use it the most each day.

Thirty-four percent of younger Millennials use social media more than two hours a day, but that figure stands at 27% among older Millennials.

The other big difference in social media use is the casual or “not at all” cohort. Only 37% of younger Millennials don’t use social media or use it less than an hour a day, compared to 45% of their older counterparts.

Streaming Music

Another significant difference in online habits between the Millennial groups is how much they use Spotify, the most popular music streaming app. The younger Millennials use Spotify at a 42% higher clip than the older Millennials. In fact, a full 20% of younger Millennials use the service more than 5 hours a week, compared to only 14% of older Millennials.


The trend continues with the way the two Millennial groups watch TV.

Forty-eight percent of younger  Millennials depend on online streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu, whereas older Millennials are slightly behind, watching online at 44%.

When it comes to distraction – or doing two things at once, depending on your POV – again, the younger Millennials are more deft.

Some 47% of the 25-29 crowd uses multiple media devices at the same time almost every day, compared to 43% of 30 to 34-year-olds who do so.

As might be expected based on the above, younger Millennials report they are slightly more addicted to their computers and smartphones than older Millennials, with 61% of the younger crowd saying they are addicted compared to 58% of the older crowd saying the same.

Not everything we looked at had major differences, of course. For instance, Netflix usage. It’s almost comical how similar the two charts below look. Taking in the margin for error, there is no significant difference in how often the two groups watch Netflix content. No surprise, given the service’s prevalence. 

So as we’ve seen, the younger subset of Millennials spends more time than its older counterpart online. It cut across nearly all categories.

What does this look like between the Gen Z group, young and old? We’ll publish that study this week.

And, in Part Two of the CivicScience Millennial study, we’ll see how they do their shopping. There are some surprises in store there. Stay tuned …