Disparities in personal wealth in America are often measured along the lines of gender, race and geography. As economic shifts continue, however, an emerging divide relates to the age of the household head. Recently the gap between older and younger households has widened dramatically, sharpening concerns that new generations of Americans may not enjoy the progress that previous generations did.
A 2011 report by the Pew Research Center, “The Rising Age Gap in Economic Well-Being,” analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The survey compared 6,513 households headed by persons younger than 35 with nearly 8,500 headed by adults ages 65 and older.
The study’s findings are as follows, broken out into key categories:
The authors conclude: “These age-based divergences of households widened substantially with the housing market collapse of 2006, the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and the ensuing jobless recovery. But they all began appearing decades earlier, suggesting they are as much linked to long-term demographic and social changes as they are to the sour economy of recent years. For the young, these long-term changes include delayed entry into the labor market and delays in marriage — two markers of adulthood traditionally linked to income growth and wealth accumulation. Today’s young adults also start out in life more burdened by college loans than their same-aged peers were in past decades.”
Tags: poverty, youth aging