Life is not just hard for many young people in our nation—it’s worse for many of our generation than it was for our parents, according to new Census data.
There are 73 million 18 to 34 year olds – often referred to as Millennials- and we comprise the largest population block in the last three decades. The Census Bureau just released the latest American Community Survey numbers which show that, when we look at almost every major economic factor, Millennials are worse off than the same age group in 1980, 1990 and 2000.
As a generation, we are more likely to be foreign born and speak a language other than English at home compared to young adults in 1980. While we are more educated, more of us are living in poverty and we experience lower rates of employment – and that’s a problem.
Some 13.5 million young people (or one in five Millennials) today are in poverty, up from 8.4 million people (one in seven) in 1980. The changes of 18-34 year olds living in poverty over time are stark: 14.1 percent in 1980, 14.3 percent in 1990, 15.3 percent in 2000, and 19.7 percent from 2009-2013.
It’s no surprise the reason; fewer Millennials are able to find work leading to lower income levels. As a result there are accomplishments that young people in previous generations had hit that we have yet to achieve such as home ownership and marriage.
Time Magazine reports:
Millennials make less money, are more likely to live in poverty and have lower rates of employment than their parents did at their ages 20 and 30 years ago.
1. Median income
Millennials earned roughly $33,883 a year on average between 2009 and 2013 compared with $35,845 in 1980 and $37,355 in 2000 (all in 2013 inflation-adjusted dollars).
2. Leaving home
More than 30% of millennials live with at least one parent compared to about 23% in 1980, largely because they can’t get a job.
Only about 65% of millennials are currently working compared with more than 70% in 1990
Almost 20% live in poverty compared with about 14% in 1980.
Perhaps the biggest driver of our plummeting financial situation is the job market. As youth advocacy group Generation Opportunity reported, the unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is 14.5 percent which includes those who have given up looking for work. Some 1.8 million young people are discouraged from even looking. (In full disclosure, I work for GenOpp.)
The media and Administration try to convince us that there’s a strong economic recovery, but as a generation, we’ve been left behind. It will take us longer to catch up to where our predecessors were by this point in their lives much more move ahead.
Moving out of the house, getting married, purchasing a home, and starting a family are all milestones that our generation is increasingly delaying because of financial instability.
What can politicians in Washington do? End policies and regulations that make hiring and growing businesses difficult for the private sector. From raising minimum wages to ObamaCare, more regulations and taxes are not the answer. States and cities should also be careful about the regulations on new industries such as ridesharing.
Millennials just want opportunity, government shouldn’t be the roadblock in our way.