Millennials Are Winning The Long-Term U.S. Wealth Race

By CultureBanx Team

  • Millennials are as wealthy as Boomers were at their age and by 2064 the average Black family likely will possess $789K in wealth 
  • Today Millennials have about 3.5% of national wealth

Millennials, the generation of Americans born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s, are on their way to becoming just as wealthy as their parents, even with economic turbulence experiences over the last decade. Income inequality has plateaued in the last decade, and recently growth in wages paid to the lowest earners has exceeded that of the highest. At the same age as Millennials, Baby Boomers controlled 21% of the country’s total wealth, compared to the 4.6% of their younger counterparts. Tides are shifting and leaving Millennial wealth distributed more unevenly. 

Why This Matters: Attempts to measure the wealth of various generations often use the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. When Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, were in their early 30s, they controlled more than 20% of national wealth, while similarly aged Millennials only have about 3.5% of national wealth today. 

However, there’s more to the numbers than meets the eye because we must account for the fact there were a lot more Baby Boomers than Millennials, according to an economist at the University of Central Arkansas. These Boomers made up a much larger share of the population when they were in their early 30s. 

Even today, Millennials only overtook Boomers as the largest American generation in 2019. When the  University of Central Arkansas economist controlled for population size by measuring wealth in per capita terms, a different picture emerged: Millennials are as wealthy as Boomers were at their age, and Gen X, born between 1965 and 1981, is wealthier now than Boomers at the same age.

There are still some issues that plague Millennials differently than Boomers. Compared to the past, younger generations go to school longer, move out later, delay marriage and wait to buy homes. Higher education tends to be more costly for African Americans because 86.6% of Black college students take out federal loans to attend four-year college.

Also in 2019, 43% of Millennials lived in homes they owned, compared to 48% of Boomers at a comparable age. For Black millennials this is a continued uphill battle as the Black homeownership rate across the U.S. stands at 41.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Situational Awareness: Inequality within generations has been increasing, with the richest boomers wealthier than previous generations and the poorest becoming poorer. In 2064, the average white family will likely possess $2,782,727 in wealth while the average Black family wealth will be $789,164, according to  a report by Elliott and Abacus Wealth Partners, that’s an astonishing 70% disparity.

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