The millennial generation, people born between 1981 and 1996, make up the bulk of the U.S. labor force, but control only 4.6 percent of the country’s total assets.
The baby boom generation, born between 1946 and 1964, currently have 10 times more wealth than the millennial generation, which, with 72 million workers, is the most strongly represented group among the working population. Although it is not uncommon for younger age groups to have less money than their elders, the average baby boomers who were in their early 30s in 1989 had four times more wealth than the millennium generation of the same age today. Three millennialists – Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, co-founders of Facebook Inc. and Walmart Inc. heir Lukas Walton – hold $1 for every $40 in their generation.
The boomers control most of the U.S. wealth, $59.6 trillion, twice as much as the $28.5 trillion of Generation X and more than ten times as much as the $5.2 trillion of the Millennials.
The millennials, now living in the median age of 32, control only 4.6 percent of U.S. wealth, far behind the 21 percent that the boomers owned a generation earlier at about this age. These working young adults will have to quadruple their bank accounts in the next two years to reach the financial share that their parents controlled in the late 1980s, when the median age of the boomers was 34.
A report on the wealth of generations published by Bloomberg on Thursday is based on Federal Reserve data and shows that the richest 50 Americans have as much money as half of the United States or 165 million people. The blatant inequalities highlighted in the report show that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated many of the already wide financial disparities. The 50 richest people in the United States earned $340 billion in the first half of 2020 alone, bringing the total value of these several dozen people to nearly $2 trillion in total wealth.
An important factor in the prosperity gap is that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not benefit from rising stock prices. The richest one percent of Americans own more than 50 percent of the shares of companies and investment funds, Bloomberg notes. Upper-middle class Americans have seen their share of corporate stocks decline by 10 percent as the richest 10 percent of adult Americans now own 88 percent of all stocks.
The millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, controls only 4.6 percent of U.S. assets, even though they represent the largest workforce with 72 million members. @BSteverman @atanzihttps://t.co/RhKrOQ4Avu pic.twitter.com/rorOprhR0H
– Adam Tooze (@adam_tooze) October 8, 2020
The Federal Reserve estimates that the top 10 percent of U.S. households control 70 percent or $77.3 trillion of the country’s total assets. This is a 10 percent increase over the 1980s. And while the top one percent of Americans owned 30.5 percent of U.S. assets in June, the bottom 50 percent of the country as a whole declined from just 3.6 percent to 1.9 percent.
The Millennials were not able to catch up with the members of Generation X, i.e., the adults born between 1965 and 1979, who in 2018 surpassed the wealth of the older silent generation (aged 75-95). Generation X Americans have doubled their collective net wealth since mid-2016.
Big-tech billionaires have taken the load to the top of the world’s richest lists, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose fortunes rose 64 percent during the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020 alone. Bezos is now worth $188.5 billion, representing more than $5 billion on Wednesday alone.
In addition to the enormous differences in wealth between the generations listed in the Federal Reserve’s report, major racial differences continue to exist in the US. White Americans control 84 percent of the country’s wealth, compared to 4.1 percent held by black Americans.
Tekk.tv asked the Federal Reserve for additional comments on Thursday.