In an article on America’s declining birthrate (WILTW July 19, 2018), we cited an unnerving finding from a recent Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis study: “the average net worth of a family headed by someone born in the 1980s — the bulk of millennials — remains 34% below what past trends would predict for their age group — the worst off, by far, of any generation.” It is not just a diagnosis of the present, but a warning for the future. As the study concludes, millennials born in the 1980s are at risk of becoming “a lost generation”, held back for a lifetime by unprecedented debt loads, wage stagnation, and the lingering scars of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
Sometime in the next year, millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996, as defined by the Pew Research Center — are projected to overtake baby boomers as the largest generation in America, comprising roughly 36% of the U.S. population. It is a generation that will define American culture and politics, and set the course of the economy for decades to come.
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