Millennials Are Facing Unprecedented Wealth Inequality Compared to Previous Generations

“We’ve never had it so good.”

That, of course, is your parents speaking. We millennials, on the other hand? Oh, we’re dead broke I’m afraid.

Seemingly never tired of producing data that depresses the hell out of us, there’s more for us to feast our impoverished eyes on, this time courtesy of the Guardian.

New data suggests that a combination of factors – unemployment, globalization, demographics and rising house prices — have contributed to unprecedented inequality between generations. The study found that in seven major economies, including Canada, the income growth for young couples and families has lagged behind that of the national averages of the past 30 years.

While we were busy watching videos of cats being terrified of cucumbers (seriously, check that sh*t out later. I said LATE… we’ve lost you) we’ve been overtaken by another generation, which has usurped our wealth.

“By who?” I hear you cry. “Are ‘The Founders‘ here already?” Well, no, we’re not that old (yet). But perhaps even more embarrassing than that is the knowledge that we’ve been out-earned by – wait for it – pensioners.

Yep. Retired, non-working, not-even-in-the-workforce-anymore pensioners are actually, in some parts of the world, trumping us Gen-Ys in terms of income. According to the data, under-30s in the US are now poorer than retired people, and in the UK pensioners’ disposable income has grown three times as fast as the income of young people.

In fact, barring wartime and periods of natural disaster, this is likely the first time in industrialized history that the incomes of young adults have fallen this far when compared with the rest of society according to the Guardian.

In the US, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Canada, millennials have suffered real term losses in wages, and in some of these countries this was underway even before the 2008 recession. In Canada, the average disposable income of those in their early 20s is more than 20 per cent below national averages.

Between 1987 and 2010, the head of the household between the ages of 25-29 had an income of four per cent below the national average growth rate in Canada. This was compared to 5 per cent above for those aged between 65-69 and 16 per cent above the national average for those ages 70-74.

This is a far cry from the recent data that showed us that Canadian millennials were earning more than previous generations. And if we were getting ready to accept a bailout from the bank of mom and dad in the form of our inheritance, we should probably think again.

Economist and professor Diane Coyle said, “We’ve never had, since the dawn of capitalism really, this situation of a population that is ageing so much and in some countries also shrinking, and we just don’t know whether we can continue growing the economy in the same way we once have.”

The data is part of a series that hopes to show that today’s young people are not just a bunch of spoiled kids but a generation struggling with increased costs and lower salaries.