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Research Gone Wild: Party Hard

Are Millennials really partying less often than their parents used to?
(Photo: iStockPhoto)

(Photo: iStockPhoto)


The fastest way to kill a party is to talk about how much harder people used to party. So it was a bummer when the New York Times, citing survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, claimed that the number of house parties “thrown by and for those in their 20s ... may be dropping” for a host of reasons.


The Times’ argument leaned heavily on the BLS’s annual American Time Use Survey, which found that, between 2003 and 2014, the time that 15- to 24-year-olds spent attending or hosting social events fell from 15 minutes per day to nine. But we don’t have nearly representative-enough data to announce the keg kicked yet: The survey’s non-response rates are alarming.


According to a 2014 study by Eventbrite, one in five Millennials attended a music festival in the past year—events that bring fans together for reasons that aren’t just partying. But when they do party, Millennials might go the hardest: Researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that affluent Millennial college graduates lead their predecessors in consuming an average of five drinks in one sitting. It seems likely, then, that the BLS survey serves as a poor barometer for how kids let loose.


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