Millennials have heard it before: People born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s are the most narcissistic, individualistic and self-absorbed generation in recorded history.
Plenty of people have tried to explain this shift, pointing fingers at coddling parents and social media. But research actually suggests that millennials aren’t especially awful, as generations go. In fact, American culture has been getting increasingly individualistic for at least a century, and it’s likely that socioeconomic structure is to blame.
Researchers reporting in 2013 in the journal Psychological Science found that socioeconomic changes preceded changes in individualism, particularly the change from a blue-collar manufacturing economy to one full of white-collar office workers.
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