The Glass Ceiling For Asian Americans

Millennials Are The Least Entrepreneurial Generation

Millennials, who are often associated with startups, are the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history.

The reason? Student debt is through the roof.

David Jolley, a contributor at Quartz, recently discussed how student debt is killing entrepreneurship.


According to The Atlantic, the percentage of people under 30 who own their own business has fallen by 65% since the 1990s.

In 2015, according to Financial Times, 22% of MBA students surveyed by FT started a business within three years of graduating. This year, only 16% did the same.

While 60% of millennials call themselves “entrepreneurs,” fewer than 2% are actually self-employed

60% percent of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs, even if few of them are. One poll found a majority of millennials would like to own a business someday but fewer than 2% are self-employed, according to the US Small Business Administration.

Student Debt At All Time High

Jolley argues that one of the main reasons behind staggering entrepreneurship rates is the climbing debt millennials are carrying.

Over the past decade, student debt has grown nearly 150%, according to CNBC.

Total student loans increased from around $510 billion in 2007 to more than $1.3 trillion today, according to a New York Times report.

While it’s become easier than ever to start a business, Jolley argues that student debt places a huge obstacle amongst millennials.

“Even if the barriers to entry of starting a new business today can be low—it’s much easier to outsource everything from payroll or get scalable office space—it’s still harder to do if you have to manage a huge student debt loan payment each month,” he writes.

Sources: Quartz, The Atlantic, Financial Times, US Small Business Administration, CNBC, New York Times