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The Millennial Generation (born 1982–2004) arrived after the Consciousness Revolution, when “Baby on Board” signs first began to appear in car windows. As abortion and divorce rates ebbed, the popular culture began stigmatizing hands-off parenting styles and recasting babies as special. Child abuse and child safety became hot topics through the 1980s, while books preaching virtues and values became bestsellers. By the mid-‘90s, politicians were defining adult issues (from tax cuts to internet access) in terms of their effects on children. Hollywood replaced cinematic child devils with adorable children who made adults better people. The “Goals 2000” movement demanded improved student behavior and achievement from the high school Class of 2000. Educators spoke of standards, cooperative learning, and No Child Left Behind.

Millennials have become a generation of improving trends, with consistent decreases in high-risk behaviors. Rates of tobacco and alcohol use, violent crime, pregnancy, and suicide are all way down among today’s teenagers, while SAT and ACT scores have been rising. As they graduate into the workplace, record numbers are gravitating toward large institutions and government agencies, seeking teamwork, protection against risk, and solid work-life balance. The youth culture is becoming less edgy, with a new focus on upbeat messages and big brands, and more conventional, with a resurgence of “oldies” and “remakes.” Their close relationships with their parents and family members are carrying over into their young adult lives.