They’re better educated, more diverse, but earn less in a world of increasing inequality. They have fewer assets and lower marriage rates, but millennials don’t differ much from earlier generations in their consumption behavior.
These are just some of the findings from a new Federal Reserve report, “Are Millennials Different?”
In addition to their younger age — millennials range in age from 21 to 37 — and the fact that they now constitute the largest population cohort in the U.S., millennials are distinguished by their lagging economic standing.
The real average full-time labor earnings of a millennial male household head in 2014 were about the same as those for a comparable male Generation X household head in 1998 and more than 10% lower than a comparable male baby boomer household head in 1978.
For female heads of all households, the median labor earnings in 2014 were about 3% lower than those of comparable female Generation X household heads in 1998.
While millennials earn less than earlier generations when they were just as young, many borrow more, at least for college.
Thirty-three percent of millennials owed student debt in 2017 compared with 20% for Gen Xers in 2004, and their balances were higher: $18,000 versus $13,000.