There seems to be a real war between generations as to who “had it worse” as a young person. When it comes to millennials, a lot of older generations are happy to throw around words like “lazy” or “self-entitled” but is that really true? According to studies, millennials may actually have it harder than their parents. Don’t believe us? Here are seven ways life is harder than it was for their parents.
In the age of social media, a lot of millennials’ self-worth is based on how many likes they get on their pictures. It is also extremely easy to get caught up comparing yourself to your friends; envying their luxurious holidays and extravagant meals. One study, back in 2015, found that people who aimlessly scroll through their Facebook feed will tend to feel worse about themselves than those who don’t. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to our peers and wondering if our life is good enough. It’s important to remember; people tend to only post the best versions of themselves online. Take what you see with a pinch of salt!
One thing that is worrying millennials is the lack of financial stability, nowadays. According to a recent study, the median income of 25 to 34-year-old Americans decreased an average of 21% between 1989 and 2013. Economic mobility has also dropped significantly, according to a 2017 study by Harvard, Stanford and the UC social scientists. Back in the 1940s, around 90% of Americans born in the decade earned more than their parents by the time they hit 30. This figure has dropped to around 50% for those born in the 1980s – millennials are defined by those born between 1981 and 1996.
Never leaving work
You would think that millennials having less money might be because they work fewer hours, right? Wrong. In fact, thanks to the joys of technology, this generation can never really “switch off” from work. While you may be able to physically leave the office at 5 pm, that won’t stop the influx of emails hitting your phone while you’re trying to binge-watch the latest Netflix show. In fact, many people may leave work at 5 pm but then continue working on into the evening thanks to the advancements in technology.
Before you can get a job that makes you work 50 hours a week, you need to go to college first. And we mean need. While going to college has become increasingly necessary for those wanting to secure themselves a well-paying job, it has also become a lot less affordable. Between 1993 and 2015, the average price of tuition increased a whopping 234%. Inflation between that time was only 63%… This means that many millennials are burdened with huge student debt to pay back before they can buy a house or start a family.
Dating paradox of choice
While some may think that online dating is a good thing for millennials, it’s actually been proven to be stressing us out. When we are given too much choice, we find it difficult to make a decision at all. This is called the paradox of choice and is proving to be really stressing single millennials out. This means that people are finding it harder to date than their parents might have.
Living at home
With the dating paradox of choice, the lack of financial stability, and the burden of student debt, it probably comes as no surprise to learn that plenty of millennials are living at home for much longer than their parents did. A study by Pew Research Center showed that men between 18-34 are much more likely to be living at home with their parents than any other living arrangement. And it’s been this way since 2009!
Finally, by the time you’ve actually moved out of your parents and started bringing in an income, you may be considering starting a family. Unfortunately, this is more expensive for millennials too. The cost of raising a child has gone through the roof in the last 50 years, particularly when it comes to childcare and pre-college education. While these costs were only 2% of raising a child in 1960, they now account for around 18%.
The next time someone tells you that you’re a lazy, entitled millennial, it might be time to hit them with some cold, hard facts. Everything is more expensive, none of us can afford to leave home, we’re burdened with student debt and self-confidence issues, and we never really get to switch off from work. No wonder we console ourselves with avocados.