Millennials skip breakfast, Baby Boomers read the paper, and other ways generations differ in their morning routines

  • Generation Z, Millennials,Generation X, and Baby Boomers begin their days in different ways.
  • Some of the differences in their morning routines can be attributed to age. Baby Boomers are increasingly retiring, so they tend to wake up later than working folks.
  • But some of it can be attributed to generational differences. Millennials, for instance, are the most likely to get their news from online.

Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers are very different – and their differences are apparent from the moment they wake up.

A poll from MSN surveyed Americans on their morning routines. It then used machine learning and big data, such as the census, to model how a representative sample of the US would have responded. It’s as accurate as a traditional scientific survey, MSN said.

Some of the differences in their morning routines can be attributed to age.

Baby Boomers are increasingly retiring, so they tend to wake up later than the working population. Nearly a third of them wake up after 7 a.m., compared to 15% of those aged below 65.

Older age also correlates with healthier mornings. Those aged 65 and up tend to exercise and eat breakfast – two recommended components of any morning routine.

Some discrepancies are also unsurprising, considering generational trends. Millennials, for instance, are the most likely to get their news online, while 13% of Baby Boomers read the paper every morning. (Just 1% of 20-somethings say they read the morning paper.)

Here’s how the generations differ in their sunrise habits.


Adults aged 64 and under are more likely to lay out their outfits the night before.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Of those younger than 65, 85% wake up before 7 a.m. That drops to 68% once folks reach retirement age.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

The older you are, the more likely you prioritise breakfast. Two-thirds of young adults never or seldom eat breakfast.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Adults across age groups tend not to plan their days. And, at 68%, young adults are particularly unlikely to map out a schedule.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Almost a third of older adults exercise in the morning, compared to 18% of twenty-somethings and 25% of middle-aged folks.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Retirees are the most likely to begin their days with the news — often via television.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

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