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Monday, September 20, 2021

How do Millennials differ across America?

GENESIA TING / AGGIE

Regional differences among Millennials are profound, worth exploring

What does it mean to be a Millennial living in Davis, California? More importantly, how does that Millennial compare to one living in Wichita, Kansas? How different are the everyday lives of San Franciscan Millennials to ones that are born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn?

A good example of a typical Millennial in Davis can be described by Taryn DeOilers and Eli Flesch, our associate opinion editor and editor, who (probably) eat expensive cheese and artisan bread while touring and wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma but (definitely) enjoy their elite status of being California Aggie editors living in NorCal. But, seriously, let’s briefly examine each part of the United States and observe what kinds of Millennials there are through a geographical compass.

The northern United States can’t be easily summarized or dissected, especially for the Millennials living there. Putting aside the Flint, Michigan and Dakota Access Pipeline incidents for a few seconds, let’s presume that there are plenty of things to do in the North and Midwest that Millennials are proud of and take up their time. The Great Lakes remain a destination Millennials favor to visit in order to escape their busy everyday lives. Yellowstone National Park also serves as a main attraction of the North. So don’t feel sorry for the young people living “above” us, but do feel sorry for their lack of diversity and culture. The northern part of the U.S. remains one the most white, conservative and homogeneous parts of the country. However, all is not lost if you mean the “North” to include the regal beauty of Montana and Wyoming, or the Great Lakes and urban culture hubs like Chicago. All in all, the North is easily the most difficult part of the country to dissect or compartmentalize.

The East Coast is America’s “front yard,” where history, politics, seafood and Biggie Smalls still remain iconic and thriving. I got the opportunity to interview several students at George Washington University when I was living in D.C. this winter. The consensus about life in the capital was actually pretty straightforward. Whenever students felt stressed, they would flock to the famous National Mall or head down to Virginia to see actual real trees and gaze at the Potomac River. While the best day trip around Davis was declared to be San Francisco (check out the write-up in the Best of Davis 2017), the number-one day trip for any Millennial living on the East Coast is hands-down the Big Apple: New York City. Millennials living on the East Coast are progressive, tough, innovative, proactive and formidable. From New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, New Jersey and many other major cities, the original stomping grounds of the U.S. are filled with history, culture and nostalgia.

“Southern Hospitality” has benchmarked Millennials in the South as the most kind, genuine and welcoming. In the same breath, they get the privilege of enjoying some of the best food, traditions and destinations in the country. From an authentic Texas barbeque to any form of traditional comfort food in the South, southern Millennials are indulging themselves when escaping stress, technology and today’s everyday grind. If you include Florida (California’s ugly, over-tanned cousin) as part of the South, this has much more to offer this young generation than just fried donuts and grits. From Miami Beach to the spectacle of the Everglades, Millennials in the southern U.S. have it pretty good compared to their peers across the country.

Last, and most importantly, you have the original and only frontier of America: the West. Not only do the words “best” and “west” rhyme, but living on the West Coast of the United States (or close to it) solidifies your place among the great, lucky few who call it home. Even though Los Angeles and Sacramento appear to be two different countries in the same state, the western part of the U.S. is the most culturally diverse and arguably most progressive part of the country. From California to Colorado, the West is filled with destinations, national parks and quite possibly the most economically vital organ of the country. I’m not saying the West Coast is the best coast, but as a Millennial born and raised in Northern California, there is nowhere I would rather live.

 

  Written by: Brody Wayne Fernandez — bwfernandez@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.

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