Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Web Secret #223: Generation Screwed

Our twins have left for college, but no empty nest angst for us - our recently graduated daughter has caromed back into our lives.

She is part of what Newsweek Magazine calls "Generation Screwed." To quote the article:
"How has this generation been screwed? Let’s count the ways, starting with the economy. No generation has suffered more from the Great Recession than the young. Median net worth of people under 35, according to the U.S. Census, fell 37 percent between 2005 and 2010; those over 65 took only a 13 percent hit. The wealth gap today between younger and older Americans now stands as the widest on record. The median net worth of households headed by someone 65 or older is $170,494, 42 percent higher than in 1984, while the median net worth for younger-age households is $3,662, down 68 percent from a quarter century ago, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center."
In New York City, (where I live,) things are even worse. While I paid $280 for a studio apartment in Manhattan after I finished grad school, my daughter will eventually pay close to $1,000 to share a space with several roommates in Queens.

What has happened since I graduated? In New York City, from 1970 to 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available), the median rent rose by 75 percent, while the median income remained stagnant (after adjusting for inflation). Further, in 2010, 54 percent of New Yorkers spent over 30 percent of their income on rent, compared with only 28.5 percent of New Yorkers in 1970.

Unsurprisingly, according to a Pew Study published early this year, employment for 18-to-24-year-olds is at 54 percent, the lowest rate for this age group since 1948, when the government started keeping track. The Pew Study also noted that one in four of all 18-to-34-year-olds said they had moved back in with their parents after having been on their own. Moving home is no longer necessarily indicative of laziness or pathology.

While these trends have been brewing for two decades, they are now at their peak. A popular blog written by 20 something Emma Koenig is aptly called "F**ck, I'm in my Twenties!"

The blog must resonate because Ms. Koenig has been offered a related book deal and TV show.

That's Blog Power.

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