Millennial women are facing a decline in overall well-being, according to a recent report from the Population Reference Bureau, a not-for-profit research organization.
The report indicates women’s lives in the United States have been “upended” following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision, and increase risk to mental health from social media. While generations of women at similar ages (25-34) showed progress from the 1960s through the 1990s, generations of women are no longer doing better than the ones that came before it, according to the report.
“Young women today are obtaining college degrees and entering the workforce in record numbers to achieve their generation’s version of the American Dream,” Diana Elliott, vice president for U.S. programs, population reference bureau, said in a statement. “But structural barriers to health and safety are preventing many of them from reaching their full potential.”
The report also details that several factors contribute to declining well-being for millennial women. Among millennials, suicide rates have increased from 4.4 deaths per 100,000 for Generation X to 7 deaths per 100,000 for millennials. Maternal mortality rates have also increased, from 19.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013-2015, to 30.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019-2021.
Lastly, the homicide rate for millennial women has increased to 4.5 deaths per 100,000 women, compared to 4.3 deaths for Generation X women of the same age. The rate has increased particularly for Black millennial women: 14 deaths per 100,000 women in 2019 to 2021, compared to 9 per 100,000 in 1999 to 2001.
The decline in well-being is happening despite widespread progress for millennial women in other areas, the report added. For example, the share of women with at least a bachelor’s degree has increased, with 43.6 percent of millennial women completing a college education compared to 28 percent of Gen X women. Additionally, the incarceration rate for women has also declined, falling 19 percent of millennial women are also earning more money: women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s have risen from 82.4 cents per dollar to 89.7 cents per dollar.
So, how do millennial women navigate the factors threatening their well-being? We’ve compiled tips to help you prioritize your well-being.
As the report showed, suicide rates for millennial women are increasing, and one way to navigate suicidal thoughts or ideation can be with the help of a licensed therapist. Resources can be found through your employers, church groups or primary healthcare providers. If you are already in therapy, you may find it helpful to get more serious about the lessons you’re learning in therapy and applying them to your real-world experiences.
Reach out to your network.
There are few things that can fill up our emotional cups as well as friendship, and being in a good emotional place can help you more successfully navigate other areas of your life that may be challenging. Try being intentional with your friendships by reaching out to coworkers to see how they’re doing, striking up a conversation with a new neighbor, or ask a friend to meet up for a cup of coffee, especially during the dark colder months.
Take steps to address burnout.
Burnout can catch us at anytime, whether it’s immediately after submitting the final version of a large project or amid a crisis at work. Our mental health suffers when we experience burnout, so a great way to combat burnout is to be more intentional about how we spend our time. At work, set goals for what needs to get done today, this week, this month, and stay focused on hitting those milestones one by one. Embracing a new routine may also help you with your work-life balance, which can help us reset and refocus on our overall well-being.