How the generation wars are playing out in the Golden State

Friday, November 09, 2018

The cost of living in California may eventually result in millennials gaining the upper hand over entitled baby boomers.

As successful baby boomers reach retirement age, plenty of them express frustration with kids today, especially millennials—those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s.

Foremost among the young adults’ sins is their seeming inability to support themselves:

“Those kids need to develop a work ethic and save—penny by penny, like their parents and grandparents did.”

“One day they might be able to move out of their parents’ basement or even—hallelujah—buy a home of their own.”

But how soft and spoiled can young adults really be as they wrestle with historic levels of student debt, incomes that often pale in comparison to the basic costs of living—especially housing—and future prospects that appear greatly diminished compared to those of earlier generations? Dowell Myers, a University of Southern California demographer who focuses on generations and immigration, says that millennials’ critics have it backward: The people who have “enjoyed enormous advantages” throughout their lives, the baby boomers, are the truly entitled generation.

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