Is Georgia millennial-friendly? New ranking says not really

Millennials are currently the largest generation — having overtaken the baby boomers in 2019 — and are responsible for 21% of all consumer discretionary spending in the United States.

The Great Recession and coronavirus pandemic, however, have left this age group economically worse off than their parents. Financial website WalletHub wanted to determine where this generation has thrived and where it has struggled.

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To determine 2021′s best and worst states for millennials, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key dimensions: affordability, education and health, quality of life, economic health, and civic engagement. It then evaluated those dimensions using 34 relevant metrics, each graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions.

For the purpose of its study, WalletHub defined “millennials” as individuals who were born between 1981 and 1996.

According to its analysis, the best state for these mid-20-to-early-40-somethings is Washington, with a score of 68.01. It is followed by the District of Columbia, Utah, Massachusetts and Iowa, in that order.

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Georgia finished in the bottom half of states, at No. 27, with a score of 50.73.

In each dimension, the Peach State ranked:

  • Affordability: 14
  • Education and Health: 42
  • Quality of life: 26
  • Economic health: 31
  • Civic engagement: 24

“Millennials are financially fragile, as 37 percent could not produce $2,000 in 30 days and more are paying high credit card fees than other generational cohorts, according to a 2018 National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) study,” Thomas J. Norman, professor of management at California State University, Dominguez, told WalletHub.

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If states want to attract and retain highly skilled millennials, they need to understand what this group finds attractive, added Eddy Ng, incoming Smith Professor of Diversity & Inclusion in Business at Queen’s University.

“For skilled workers, especially those with digital and new economy skills, they understand that they have tremendous mobility,” Ng said. “There is a global competition for talent, not just with other G-7 industrialized countries, but also with rapidly developing economies such as China and India. Local and state authorities should aim to attract more international students who come to the U.S. to study to stay and contribute here.”

The bottom five states, according to WalletHub’s analysis, were Louisiana, Nevada, Mississippi, New Mexico and, coming in last place, West Virginia.