Millennials and the Generational Wage Gap

By Brendan V. Duke, Center for American Progress

By all rights, Millennials—people born between 1981 and 19971—should be the highest-paid generation in American history. They are, after all, the most likely to hold a college degree and are working in a period of unsurpassed productivity. Unfortunately, more education and a more productive economy have not paid off for working Millennials. Median compensation—wages plus the value of benefits from employers such as health care premiums and 401(k) contributions—for a 30-year-old in 2014 was below that of a 30-year-old 10 years earlier. Indeed, 30-year-olds today make around the same amount of money as 30-year-olds in 1984, despite the facts that they are 50 percent more likely to have finished college and that they work in an economy that is 70 percent more productive.2

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