U.S. millennials are approaching middle age reportedly in worse financial shape than every living generation ahead of them.
The Wall Street Journal explains that millennials lag behind baby boomers and Generation X despite a decade of economic growth and falling unemployment.
Americans born between 1981 and 1996 have failed to match every other generation of young adults born since the Great Depression.
Hobbled by the financial crisis and recession that struck as they began their working life, they have less wealth, less property, lower marriage rates and fewer children, according to new data that compare generations at similar ages.
More than half the 72 million American millennials are now in their 30s. The oldest will turn 38 this year, when their generation is expected to surpass the number of baby boomers.
Their slow start has been well-documented in the first years after the recession. New data show that millennials may never catch up with the generations of Americans that preceded them.
To be sure, student loan debt and a lack of affordable homes are weighing on purchase plans of first-time homebuyers.
New entrants to the real estate market have dwindled since the financial crisis to 33% of total sales versus 42% in the early 2000s, Bloomberg reported. That coincides with a shrinking supply of lower-priced properties and tighter lending standards, making mortgage approvals tougher amid a record in delinquent school debt.
It’s an important demographic to watch ahead of the existing home sales report for April, recently reported by the National Association of Realtors. The median first-time buyer pays $204,000, according to NAR.
Student loans “have completely broken with the business cycle,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York researchers wrote in a report that showed a steady acceleration in school loans throughout the financial crisis even as debt growth slowed in other categories. With nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population holding student loans -- nearly double the 2004 level -- the share of Americans with housing debt has fallen to just over a quarter from 33% in 2004.
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