Unlike in the West, millennials in India are happier than their parents

Millennials in India think they have a better life than their parents did, and want to own houses and cars as much as their previous generations, data from the latest YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey shows

Surbhi Bhatia, Sriharsha Devulapalli
Updated15 Jun 2020, 06:29 AM IST
Both millennials and post-millennials feel they lead a more comfortable life than their parents did
Both millennials and post-millennials feel they lead a more comfortable life than their parents did(Photo: Mint)

Globally, millennials are seen as the generation that owes more than it owns. In the United States, for instance, lower incomes, higher debts and fewer assets have made this generation seem worse off than the previous one on many counts.

Indian millennials however appear to be different. Both millennials and post-millennials feel they lead a more comfortable life than their parents did, fresh data from the latest YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey show. Even pre-millennials think their lives have been better than that of their parents, the survey shows.

Eight in ten millennials surveyed said they were better off than where their parents were at the same age, responses from the latest round show. Among post-millennials (or Gen Z adults), this figure is similar (77%).


Even as globalization has offshored job opportunities in the West over the past few decades, it has created new vocations and boosted earnings in several emerging markets such as India. As a result, many young people in India have had greater material comforts than their parents could imagine. But even when it comes to relationships, a majority believe that they have better relationships than their parents did.

The YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey was conducted online between 12 March and 2 April, across 184 towns and cities. It covered 10,005 respondents of which 4,957 were millennials, 2,983 post-millennials, and 2,065 pre-millennials. The survey was conducted jointly by Mint, the Indian arm of the global market research firm, YouGov, and the Delhi-based think tank, CPR (Centre for Policy Research) to gauge the aspirations and attitudes of India’s digital natives.

Millennials refer to those who were born between 1981 and 1996—they are the ones who attained adulthood in the early 21st century, and growing up, saw the world become digitally connected. Those born after 1996 (aged 23 years or below) are referred to as the post-millennials or Gen Z. The rest (40 years and above) have been classified as pre-millennials.

Unlike the older lot, millennials and post-millennials appear to be more keen to move out to other cities, and countries, in their pursuit of happiness.

Millennials are as keen to travel as earlier generations but are constrained by their finances. While most millennials want to travel, those who earn less can’t afford to do so. Among those earning above Rs. 1 lakh a month, nearly half said they regularly traveled abroad.

Compared to the older generation, fewer millennials can afford to own a house, even though they aspire to do so. Given that pre-millennials have spent a relatively greater part of their life working, they typically have more savings and wealth compared to millennials.

Unlike in the West, the young in India haven’t given up on home-ownership, the survey data suggests. The share of young respondents who prefer to rent instead of owning a house is only a little higher than pre-millennials. It is likely that they are waiting for greater financial security before attempting to fulfil their home-ownership dream. While pre-millennials tended to save more for retirement, millennials were inclined to save for house and car purchases, a survey by Mint and YouGov conducted last year showed.

When it comes to the use of car-hailing services, there does not appear to be a big difference between millennials and other generations. About a third of those surveyed said they would choose to use an Ola or Uber cab instead of buying a car. Across generations, a similar proportion said they wanted to own a car.

If young people are buying less cars, it is most likely because they can’t afford it right now, the data suggests. Compared to pre-millennials, more millennials said they didn’t have a car because they couldn’t afford it. Compared to millennials, a greater proportion of post-millennials said the same.

Overall, millennials and post-millennials in India appear more positive about life than their peers abroad. And their aspirations in life are in many ways similar to that of the previous generation, the latest survey shows. They want to explore the world, and at the same time, they want to ‘own’ things as much as the older generation does.

This is the third of a five-part data journalism series on the aspirations and attitudes of India’s digital natives. The first part examined the job aspirations of millennials, and the second looked at their relationship preferences.

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First Published:15 Jun 2020, 06:29 AM IST
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