A comprehensive study conducted by the University of Cambridge, published in the American Journal of Sociology, reveals significant differences in wealth accumulation and life trajectories between millennials and baby boomers in the United States. The study, involving over 6,000 individuals from each generation, found that while some millennials have amassed more wealth than their baby boomer parents at the same age, a growing wealth gap persists between the two generations.
The research indicated that millennials are more likely to occupy lower-paying jobs and live with their parents longer than baby boomers did. However, those millennials leading “typical” middle-class lifestyles often possess greater wealth compared to their parents at the same age. The study, comparing late baby boomers (born 1957-64) with early millennials (born 1980-84), utilized data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to analyze these generational differences.
Dr. Rob Gruijters, the lead author of the study, emphasized that the key issue is the changing rewards associated with different family and career patterns over generations. The study found that by age 35, only 7.3% of millennials had entered prestigious professional careers, compared to 17% of baby boomers. Additionally, 62% of boomers owned homes at this age, while the figure was 49% for millennials. Gruijters highlighted that wealth inequality is exacerbated by these disparities, particularly for millennials in low-skilled service roles who face greater challenges in accumulating assets like home ownership. The study suggests that addressing these inequalities requires policy interventions such as progressive wealth taxation and universal health insurance.
FingerLakes1.com is the region’s leading all-digital news publication. The company was founded in 1998 and has been keeping residents informed for more than two decades. Have a lead? Send it to [email protected].