30 Apr 2018

Are millennials poorer than past generations of young adults?

In our latest ‘So What’ video, we explain the issues and talk to experts to try to get to the bottom of it.

Young people think they’re worse off than their parents, surveys suggest.

But is it helpful to draw battle lines between the generations?

In our latest ‘So What’ video, we explain the issues and talk to experts to try to get to the bottom of it.

The average wealth of young people has been going down, while house prices have skyrocketed.

Laura Gardiner, from the Resolution Foundation, said: “In the longer term the fact that millennials are not going into home ownership means their less likely to be accumulating property wealth because owning homes has been the biggest way in which people in Britain have built up wealth in recent decades.”

Coupled with this, being a uni student in England and Wales will now usually set you back more than £9,000 a year. Whereas, it was free before tuition fees were introduced in 1997.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: there are plenty of ways in which young people are better off than their parents.

“One way millennials are better off than their parents is in terms of how educated they are,” says Gardiner. “They’re the best educated generation in history.”

But Professor Rowlingson, from Birmingham Uni, says we have to realise there is also an imbalance among millennials themselves.

“Some young people are on quite high incomes if they’ve gone through uni got jobs in banking, finance,” she said. “We shouldn’t put all young people in one group and see them as a disadvantaged group, there are some young people who are extremely disadvantaged and struggling.”

And Rowlingson warns that we need to be careful about demonising older generations.

“I think there are real dangers of exaggerating the intergenerational inequalities, because it sometimes leads to calls for cutting benefits for pensioners. But actually those people are going to be pensioners at one time so if we cut the benefits for pensioners now then that won’t help the younger people in future decades.”