Baby Boomers’ kids are doing worse than their parents

by Grace

The Typical Millennial Is $2,000 Poorer Than His Parents at This Age

More young people are living in poverty and fewer have jobs compared their parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers, in 1980.

Even though a higher percentage of today’s young people have college degrees, more live in poverty.

 

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Wages are lower for those who are working full-time.

 

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Unemployment rates were lower and labor participation rates for young people were higher in 1980
, measures that are consistent with the higher poverty rates of today.  Another related cause may be that more Millenials are still in college at later ages than Baby Boomers were at the same ages.  But today’s high college dropout rates mean the younger generation will fail to reap the financial benefits of a college degree, and will even be penalized since a few years of college may be worse than never enrolling.

The immigrant effect

It’s also worth pointing out that the United States has absorbed millions of immigrants over the past 30 years, often from poorer Latin and South American countries. (The Census notes that the share of ethnic minorities has doubled over the last 33 years.) It’s possible that, even as these young families have raised their own living standards by moving to the U.S. and contributed to a growth economy, their below-average wages, when lumped into the aggregate, make it look like native-born families’ wage growth is worse than it really is.

Lower marriage rates may be a factor.

Unlike prior generations of young adults, the majority of Millennials have never been married

Finally, the “jobless recovery” we have been experiencing ties into the financial misery that Millenials are feeling today, especially considering that 1980-1982 was a time of back-to-back recessions.

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Derek Thompson, “The Typical Millennial Is $2,000 Poorer Than His Parents at This Age”, Atlantic, January 31, 2015.

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