Millennials Get Blamed for a Lot, But They Could Help to Save the U.S. Postal Service

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iStock

Millennials get a bad rap for destroying everything from homeownership rates to fabric softener sales, but there's one important traditional industry they're enthusiastic about: the U.S. Postal Service. According to CityLab, a new USPS report [PDF] finds that young people's appreciation for snail mail could help boost the often-struggling agency's fortunes in the future.

Probing for insights into the minds of young people ages 18 to 34 (a little off from the Pew Research Center's definition of Millennials as being people ages 22 to 37), the USPS conducted surveys and hosted live chats online to figure out what Millennials think of the agency, and how the Postal Service can ignite their love of snail mail.

That's vital, because as it is, technological innovations like email and online bill payments are putting the USPS out of business. It lost money for the 11th year in a row in 2017, and while shipping packages is getting more popular (thank you, online shopping habits), it hasn't been enough to offset the decline of mail during that year—mail rates declined by 50 billion pieces in 2017. Young people ages 18 to 34 received an average of 17 pieces of mail each week in 2001, while they only receive 10 now.

But Millennials, it turns out, love mail, even if they don't want to pay their bills with it. As the report observes, "many Millennials still delight in receiving personalized notes or cards around holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions." Three-quarters of respondents said that getting personalized mail from friends and family "makes them feel special." According to the report, around 80 percent of Millennials say they're satisfied with the USPS, around the same rate as older, stamp-loving generations. More Millennials than Boomers, meanwhile, have a USPS.com account, and 59 percent say that the USPS is an innovative organization.

Millennials mentioned several ideas for USPS improvements that already basically exist, like self-service kiosks, at-home package pickup, and Informed Delivery emails, meaning the Postal Service isn't always the best at getting the word out about the cool things it already does. The report also shows that the Postal Service is still working on an augmented reality service that could give you a look at what's inside a package before you open it. (The idea debuted in 2016, but the app was largely limited to showing animated messages.)

The surveys and discussions did come up with a new idea to endear the post office to Millennials: a rewards program. The young people surveyed suggested that members could earn points by buying stamps or mailing packages and use them to redeem discounts or enter contests.

Millennials: They may be ruining vacations, but at least they're ready to save the mail.

[h/t CityLab]

We're Hiring a Videographer/Editor!

iStock.com/filo
iStock.com/filo

Mental Floss is seeking a full-time videographer/editor to join our team in New York City. This person will shoot and edit multiple videos a week for our site and other platforms, contribute to brainstorming sessions, and see each video through every stage of production to the final product. This includes:

- Pitching video ideas and planning their execution
- Shooting in studio and on location
- Lighting shoots in studio and on location
- Recording audio
- Editing video
- Creating text and basic motion graphics

Ideal candidates will be ambitious, detail-oriented, and deadline-driven, and comfortable being a key player on a team as well as managing independent projects. They will have solid technical and production skills, and are equally comfortable shooting and editing. A sense of humor, wit, and the proclivity to pitch in and do whatever needs doing to get the job done are essential.

REQUIREMENTS

- 2-4 years making short-form digital video
- Experience shooting, lighting, and audio recording in the studio and on location
- Experience editing videos
- Proficiency in Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop
- A knowledge of "what works" across platforms—but also an inclination to push the boundaries and innovate
- Strong writing skills
- Bonus points if you have animation and graphic design experience

TO APPLY

Send an email with the subject "Mental Floss Editor/Videographer" to anna@minutemedia.com. In your cover letter, tell us why you're a fit for our team and what a perfect Mental Floss video would be. Tell us about your most relevant work experience. Include a link to your portfolio and/or at least three links to short-form videos you shot or edited (specify your role). Please include your resume and salary requirements.

If we bring you in for an interview, we'll also ask you to do a video editing test. Please note that this is not a remote position; our offices are in midtown Manhattan.

America's Divorce Rate is Declining—and We Have Millennials to Thank for It

iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes
iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes

Millennials are reportedly killing off yet another cultural mainstay, but this time, it may be a good thing. According to Bloomberg, divorce rates are going down, thanks to the commitment powers of younger generations.

Between 2008 and 2016, the divorce rate in the U.S. dropped by 18 percent, according to a new analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Controlling for related factors like age (older people are less likely to get divorced than younger couples), the rate still dropped by 8 percent. By contrast, Baby Boomers have consistently divorced at higher rates than previous generations.

Many declines that Millennials are blamed for—like rates of homeownership or having kids—can actually be attributed to the dismal finances of a generation that came of age in a recession, is saddled with crushing student debt, and faces high costs of living and low wage growth. Divorces can be expensive, too. Yet several trends point to a higher likelihood of marriage stability for the Millennial generation that has nothing to do with finances. On average, Millennials are marrying later in life, and spending more time dating partners prior to marriage than earlier generations, both of which correlate with a lower chance of divorce, according to social scientists.

“The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past,” author Philip Cohen writes in the paper.

Sorry, law school students, but it looks like being a divorce lawyer is going to get a little less lucrative in the future.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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