Economic Well-being Across Generations of Young Canadians: Are Millennials Better or Worse Off?


The income distribution of Canadian households has been widening over the past few decades. This means that the distance between top and bottom income groups has grown. For example, incomes for the bottom 10% increased from $10,600 to $14,400 from 1995 to 2017, compared to $81,200 to $123,800 for the top 10%.Note This suggests the possibility of different savings and wealth outcomes for Canadians.Note

Previous work has shown that between 59 and 67 percent of children born between 1970 and 1984 had income as adults that was at least as high as their parents (Ostrovsky 2017). However, less is known about other dimensions of economic well-being across generations. Economic well-being refers to the ability of households to meet their needs, to accumulate assets and build wealth. Millennials, now the largest generation of Canadians, at 27% of the total population, may be facing different challenges in building wealth than previous generations of young Canadians. Despite being the most educated generation, concerns have been raised that millennials have been “slower to launch”.

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