The era of downward mobility
The Washington Post
“It’s an axiom among many Americans that each future generation will live better than its predecessor,” said Robert Samuelson. But it’s no longer true. For many young people with successful parents, “there is downward mobility.” Despite the strong economy, young people are struggling professionally and economically; as a result, they’re delaying marriage and childbearing, living with their parents or getting financial help from them, and giving up on homeownership. Their parents, meanwhile, are suffering “angst” about their children’s futures. A new study found that 90 percent of children born in 1940 ultimately exceeded their parents’ incomes, but for those born in 1980, only 50 percent did. Among Millennials, the trendline continues downward, especially among those who’ve come from the upper middle classes. “The higher the parents’ incomes, the less likely that their children will match them.” This is true even though these offspring “have all the advantages,” including good schooling and attentive parents. Upper middle-class parents are thriving in this economy, but they know they are “often judged by how well their children are doing.” And the truth about how their kids are doing is: Not so great.