Young and middle-aged people, particularly men, saw their incomes plummet from 2000 to 2008, leaving many age groups at 30-year nadirs, new Census data show. The recession has exacerbated the problem, widening the gap between young and old at an unprecedented rate, USA Today reports. Worst hit were those in their peak earning years—between ages 45 and 54—whose average household income fell $7,700 to $64,349.
Those born before 1955 have enjoyed historic income growth for 4 decades. Everyone born after that is now shrinking. What caused the gap?
- Waiting in line for good jobs: Older people are working longer, keeping young people out of top jobs.
- Global competition: Low-income workforces overseas have depressed wages for newly hired young people.
- Retirement: Social Security and private pensions have given the elderly record incomes.