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Illinois named the fifth-best state for millennials, per WalletHub report


Millennials are currently the largest generation, having overtaken the baby boomers in 2019, although they are likely to lose that status to Generation Z by 2026. With a population around 80 million, millennials continue to have a huge influence on American culture and consumption, according to a new report from personal finance website WalletHub

Millennials are responsible for 21% of all consumer discretionary spending in the U.S. with trillion-dollar purchasing power and higher educational attainment than previous generations. However, millennials are also worse off economically than their parents with reduced job prospects and earning potential due to the Great Recession. 

In order to find which state had the best millennial experience, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine where the generation has thrived and struggled, with each state and the District compared across 34 metrics, from share of millennials to millennial unemployment rate to millennial voter-turnout rate. 

Illinois was ranked the fifth-best state to live in as a millennial, behind Washington, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Utah. Illinois scored 60.28 points out of a possible 100 and was second in affordability, fourth in education and health, eighth in quality of life and 18th in civic engagement, the report found. 

Among individual metrics, Illinois was second-lowest in share of millennials with depression, eighth in average monthly earnings for millennials and 13th in housing cost for millennials. Illinois was also 18th in share of millennials in the population. 

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District across five dimensions including “Affordability,” “Education & Health,” “Quality of Life,” “Economic Health” and “Civic Engagement.” Illinois scored second in affordability, fourth in education and health, eighth in quality of life, No. 46 in economic health and No. 18 in civic engagement. 

Those dimensions were evaluated using 34 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for millennials. 

Affordability included average monthly earnings among millennials and cost of living. Education and Health included share of insured millennials and the share of millennials with poor or fair health. Quality of Life included the share of millennials in the population and singles-friendliness. Economic health included millennial population growth and labor force participation growth rate for millennials. Civic Engagement included the millennial voter turnout rate. 

For the study, millennials included individuals who were born between 1981 and 1996. 

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