What Happens When the “Screwed Generation” Has Children of Their Own?

Most media portrayals of the so-called “millennial” generation – people born roughly between the late 1970s and the late 1990s – portray them as lazy losers living in their parents’ basements. What most miss is that a third of millennials are parents themselves. In a new article for Al Jazeera, I take on the challenges millennial parents face as the generation with the most debt in American history:

Millennials are a favourite target of the media, who portray their economic plight as a character flaw. In a recent cover story, “The Me Me Me Generation”, TIME declared millennials “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents”. While generational trolling spares no cohort, there was something particularly callous about TIME‘s depiction of young adults facing the worst economy since the Great Depression.

“Have you seen your intern on Rich Kids of Instagram?” Atlantic‘s Elspeth Reeve writes, noting that the TIME portrayal seems modelled on privileged interns able to work for free. “If so, he or she is probably not the best guide to crafting the composite personality of a generation that fought three wars for you.”

“Adults still living with their parents” is the classic millennial trope. What is forgotten is how many millennials are parents themselves. As of 2010, 34 percent of US residents aged 18-29 had children, according to one poll. Fewer than one-third of people in this age group have a full-time job. They have minimal savings and the highest student loan debt in recorded history. Most cannot afford cars, homes, health insurance or other material goods once considered basic elements of life in the US. A generation that can barely stand on its feet is in charge of another generation’s welfare.

Read the full article, The Millennial Parent, at Al Jazeera English. And thank you to the Atlantic for naming it one of the best columns of the day.

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24 Responses to What Happens When the “Screwed Generation” Has Children of Their Own?

  1. It’s not often that an op-ed actually speaks for me, let alone my generation. Thank you.

  2. Curuniel says:

    It’s also worth noting that living with your parents isn’t necessarily a decision of laziness or dependence. A lot of millennials want to be independent, but the aforementioned lack of income, jobs or job opportunities means they may not be able to afford to live on their own!

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