A recent survey by the think tank, the Resolution Foundation, has found that almost half (48%) of respondents expected people born between 1981 and 2000, categorised as millennials, to have a standard of life worse than their parents due to economic concerns. In contrast, only 23% believed that millennials could expect their standard of life to be better than that of the generation before them. The study also found that, of those who thought their children would enjoy a better standard of life than them fifteen years ago, only half still believed that today.
Those who were the least optimistic about the future were high earners and graduates, with nearly 60% of graduates thinking young people would experience a lower standard of life than their parents. One millennial respondent, who had recently graduated from university, said they “felt lucky” when they got their first job. “You shouldn’t have to feel lucky if you’ve worked hard and gone to university,” they stated. In their view, for the previous generation, it was expected you’d get a good job if you went to university, whereas now it is not.
One revealing statistic found that, despite the technological and socio-economic advances which have happened between their own lifetime and that of their parents, one third of millennials stated that they would have preferred to grow up during the time of their parents’ childhood than their own. In contrast, only 15% of those in older generations said they would prefer to be a young person in today’s world.
That such an anxiety has taken hold despite decades of economic growth, technological advances and growing social freedoms suggests we have failed to ensure that these gains have fully fed through into young people’s living standards and prospects, said Laura Gardiner, a senior policy analyst for the Resolution Foundation.
Of course, cheaper flights and smarter phones are great, but they’re no substitute for a secure income and a home of one’s own.