advertisement
advertisement

Gen Z has 86% less purchasing power than baby boomers did in their 20s

Millennials and Gen Z aren’t broke because of avocado toast. They’re broke because prices have shot up and wages haven’t kept pace.

Gen Z has 86% less purchasing power than baby boomers did in their 20s
[Source Images: Huber & Starke/Getty]

Times are tough, inflation is sky high, but just how bad are things really?

advertisement

A new study by customer review company Consumer Affairs analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census, the National Association of Realtors, and the Education Data Board to quantify Gen Z’s purchasing power compared to the purchasing power of baby boomers in the 1970s. Here’s what they found:

  • Real wages are going down: Gen Z has 86% less purchasing power compared to baby boomers when they were in their 20s. Americans have seen wages increase by 80% since the 1970s. However, the average Consumer Price Index has increased by over 500%.
  • Housing costs are going up: Housing prices and rental rates have shot up. Gen Z is paying almost 100% more for homes. Today, the average house is $309,400. In the 1970s it was $24,800, or $185,600 in today’s dollars. Similarly, the median rent is $2,000 per month, in the 1970s it was $800 per month in 2022 dollars.
  • College costs are going way up: Tuition rates have skyrocketed. The average price of tuition at a public university has increased by 310%, while the price of a private four-year college has increased by 245%. Meanwhile, college graduates have increased by 254% since 1970.
  • And let’s not even talk about the pump: Gas rates are also shooting up. Gas currently costs 57% more than it did in 1970. It’s $4.70 per gallon, compared to $3.00 in 1970, in today’s dollars.

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

Call for Most Innovative Companies entries! Apply now.

500+ winners will be featured on fastcompany.com. Final deadline: 9/23.