I am part of the millenial generation. Born at the tail-end of the 1980s and a schoolkid during the prosperous 90s (yes, I remember the Backstreet Boys, but didn't quite get the whole Lewinsky thing), I watched the 2008 election from my freshman dorm room. I'm facing the 2012 presidential race as with a Bachelor of Arts degree and my student loan grace period a fond memory. Lets take a look at some statistics we, as millenials, have to face.
One: The Recession.
Obviously, this one hit everyone hard, but the younger generations had less we could afford to lose. According to Newsweek (which in a recent cover story dubbed us "generation screwed"), the median net worth of people under 35 dropped by 37% between 2005 and 2010, while people over 65 had a cusion and lost only 13%.
Two: Student Debt.
Student Debt has risen 56 % since 2005, and now stands at an average of $21,00 per person. Combine this with the competion for entry-level jobs from an older demographic, and the picture is not promising.
Three: Failure to Launch.
Though it has long been common to bunk with mom and dad while sending out résumés or saving enough money for your own apartment, the Pew Research Center found that moving back home is more common than we might think. Of adults ages 18-34, 48% of those who are not employed either stil live at home or have temporarily moved back home. This is up from 2006, when 15.2% of 25-34 year olds lived in multi-generaltional households. Now, 17.5 % do.
In July of this year, the unemployment rate was 12.7% for youth 18-29 years old, while the national average is around 8.2%. This is actually down from the 2008 summer unemployment rate, which was about 15%. PayScale.com, however, claims that our generation is chronically underemployed.
Some good news:
While there are students who owe over $100,000 in student loan debt, half of all students owe less than $12,500. We are aware of our problems-when asked, 76% of college-aged millenials say that the economy is one of the nation's most important issues. Youth unemployment is slightly down from four years ago. While the outlook may not be as encouraging as the one Gen X viewed out of college, the choices we make in our early adulthood, both personally and politically, could change the game for our generation and the one after us.