New study: Millennials earning more at their age than past generations

Millennial-headed households are making more than households of their same age group in the last 50 years.

Millennials may be in debt – but they’re making more than ever before.

Millennial-headed households – meaning young people aged 22 to 37 – now earn more than young adult households have at almost any other time in the last 50 years, according to Pew Research Center’s analysis of new census data. (An exception was a low point for earnings overall in 2011.)

In 2017, the median adjusted income in a household headed by a Millennial was $69,000, higher than almost any other year on record. (In 2000, households headed by people ages 22-27 earned about $67,6000, adjusted for inflation). (Not quite the amount they need to “feel happy,” but getting there).

One reason for the increase is that Millennial women are leading the charge – young women are working more and being compensated better than in previous years. In 2017, women in Millennial households worked more than those in 2000. Amongst those Millennial women who did work in 2017, 78% of them worked at least 50 weeks out of the year.

Young adult women are also being paid slightly more: women working full time for an entire year found their median earnings rising from $37,100 to 2000 to $39,000 in 2017.

But it’s not all good news

Still, while Millennial households may have been found to be out-earning their past selves, they’re still behind what Boomers were making at their age, the Federal Reserve has found.

According to the paper, “the real average full-time labor earnings of a Millennial male household head in 2014 were … over 10% lower than those for a comparable male Baby Boomer household head in 1978.”

And they still hadn’t caught up by 2016: In that year, the “average real net worth of Millennial households was about $92,000, around 20% less than Baby Boomer households in 1989 and nearly 40% less than Generation X households in 2001,” according to the paper. Contradictory to the Pew Research analysis, this suggested lower earnings; it also took into account an unprecedented amount of debt, including student loans.

Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.