Downward Mobility: Most Millennials are Poorer than their Parents

Thursday, February 05, 2015
(AP photo)

Millennials are not enjoying the same economic opportunities afforded their parents 35 years ago.


The median income of millennials is about $2,000 less than it was for their baby boomer parents in 1980, according to figures (pdf) from the U.S. Census Bureau. The agency also reported that more millennials are living in poverty and fewer are employed today than when boomers were becoming upwardly mobile yuppies.


Michigan, Indiana and Ohio have the highest percentage of young people living in poverty, while states with the highest rates of millennials living with their parents are California and Florida (both 35%) and Nevada (28%).


However, there are states where 17-34 year olds are doing better than three decades ago, particularly along the eastern seaboard. Those living in the Northeast, Virginia and the Carolinas are financially better off. The lone standout beyond the Atlantic region is South Dakota, where many jobs have been created in the oil industry.


The numbers might be skewed a bit because the country is still recovering from the recession begun in 2008 at the end of the George W. Bush administration. Also, young people without a college degree can find their opportunities more limited than a few decades ago, when more good-paying factory jobs were available for those with a high school education.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Young Adults, Then and Now (U.S. Census Bureau) (pdf)

The Typical Millennial Is $2,000 Poorer Than His Parents at This Age (by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic)

Immigrants Help Millennials Edge out Baby Boomers as Nation’s Largest Living Generation (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Record Percentage of Young Adults Living with Parents (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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