The term ‘Millennials’ is hard to define, but according to Strauss and Howe’s book entitled ‘Millennials Rising’, they are defined as anyone born between 1982-2002. This means that most of us who actively use the internet are considered Millennials.
It’s no secret that millennials get a bad rap, whether it be for taking too many selfies, posting meal pics on social media, or (gasp!) texting instead of talking on the phone.
Though we Millennials have been called lazy by older generations, we are the most educated of any group. The college enrollment rate jumped 46 percent from 1990 to 2013— and that’s not even including post-graduate education!
As the economy has grown increasingly more difficult, a growing number of Millennials are attending grad school in order to increase their job prospects. However, if this generation is so educated, why aren’t they finding gainful employment?
Even though millennials have more college-educated people than any other generation, they still make the least money.
The White House released a report that showed the average income for 18-34-year-olds, also known as Millennials, decreased from 2009 to 2013. In 1980, this same group made $33,800 on average-, which is the lowest it has been in recent history.
Millennials’ incomes are struggling not only because of the poor economy but for other reasons as well. In fact, baby boomers are one of the largest financial burdens on Millennials.
Social Security spending and the increased federal debt jeopardizes Millennials’ own retirement prospects. Many companies have stagnant wages because so much money is being diverted to baby boomers who are now reaching retirement age.
Not only this, but the cost of millennial education has been growing at an alarming rate. In the last 30 years alone, the price of a 4-year degree from a public university has risen 146 percent – much higher than the general inflation rate for that time period.
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The United States has 1.2 trillion dollars in student debt, and 700 million students have defaulted on their loans according to a Forbes report. These statistics are shocking and highly distressing for any Millennial.
The scariest part is that not only do Millennials get paid less, but they’re also underemployed. In order to find a job as a Millennial, you have to go to college and take on insane amounts of student debt. The hope is that your education will land you a job that pays well enough to cover these loans.
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It is plain to see that economists are starting to understand that Millennials get paid less (and in many cases, offered fewer full-time jobs) than other generations before them. This then creates a repetitive cycle of debt and little to no money coming in.
So yes, some older people think that all Millennials do is take selfies and watch Netflix all day. But what they don’t realize is that this generation is having to confront an economic crisis that they have almost no control over. So the absolute least we deserve is Instagram likes in exchange for crippling economic turmoil.
This article was originally published in The Lala.