WASHINGTON — It’s hard to turn a city corner, flip on the news or open a web browser without hearing about the m-word: millennials. And Alexandria, Va., resident Natalie Moss wants to talk about the subject even more.
Moss is the founder of Millennial Week, an inaugural event in D.C. that plans to explore and celebrate millennials’ impact on society and culture.
The reason to launch Millennial Week was obvious for Moss, 34.
“You’re looking at the generation that’s now moving into more of a position of leadership in this nation,” she says. “And it’s the largest generation alive.”
The Millennial Generation and its Impact on D.C.
The millennial generation, which totals 95 million, embodies those born between 1978 and 2000, according to Generation WE. The generation is larger than the baby boom generation by 17 million. And over the past six years, the District has become the country’s millennial magnet.
The D.C. area saw an average annual gain of 12,583 people ages 25 to 34 between 2010 and 2012, The Wall Street Journal reports. The city’s millennial population growth made it the most popular for the generation, followed by Denver and Portland, The Atlantic reports.
Moss and other researchers say the D.C. millennial migration had a lot to do with the 2008 election.
“You had 66 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 that voted for Barack Obama, and so I think that definitely drew people to Washington, D.C.,” Moss says.
But just as D.C. is not all politics, neither is the uptick in the city’s young population. Moss says a lot of it has to do with the economic growth of the region.
“Post-recession, you see D.C. thriving in ways that other areas of the country are not. I think it’s just a really neat fusion of reasons why you’ve seen a lot of millennials flock here.”
Millennial Week, June 2-8
Moss, who has a Ph.D in cell and molecular biology, says now is the time to open up a dialogue about what inspires, shapes and drives the city’s millennial population.
“It’s smart to try to focus on this generation,” she says.
Over the past 10 months, she’s been planning events that hit every topic — from politics, to entrepreneurship, philanthropy and food — when she wasn’t at her full-time job in intellectual property.
“That’s so very millennial of me,” she says.
What to Expect Millennial Week
What: Millennial Week Opening Reception When: June 2, 2014; 7 to 9 p.m. Where: Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 8th St. NW
Millennial Week will kick-off with a reception recognizing the millennials who have made strides in entrepreneurship and innovation, politics, social good and arts and culture.
What: Millennial Political Town Hall When: June 3, 2014; 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Where: The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW #4
With moderator Clinton Yates, a panel of local political experts (who are millennials, of course) will discuss the influence of millennials on the current political climate.
What: Entrepreneur’s Forum When: June 4, 2014; 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Where: 1776, 1133 15th St. NW
This networking event at 1776 will include a discussion, moderated by Justin Harrison, on D.C.’s startup and investment community and opportunities.
What: Millennial Made When: June 5, 2014; 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Where: The Wonderbread Factory, 641 S St. NW
This rooftop event will focus on the millennial food culture of D.C. The night will feature wines paired with live chef stations manned by Union Kitchen entrepreneurs.
What: Millennial Day of Service When: June 7, 2014; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hosted by Capital Cause, the day of service will allow some of D.C.’s millennials to have an impact on the city’s middle schoolers through leaning activities and painting at Johnson Middle School and Kelly Miller Middle School.
What: Innovator’s Brunch When: June 8, 2014; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: City Club of Washington, 555 13th St. NW
This closing event serves as a networking brunch with brief talks from millennial-generation entrepreneurs.