This is the average net worth for each generation

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Self.

In 2021, the average net worth of an American household headed by someone aged 64 to 75 reached over $ 1.2 million, while the net worth of an average household headed by someone under the age of 35. years was only 76,000 dollars.

With these huge generational wealth gaps, Self decided to delve deeper into the historical distribution of wealth across generations to understand if the wealth gap has always been so wide.

Traditionally, household wealth in the United States has been fairly evenly distributed among different age groups. However, over the past 30 years, data from the US Federal Reserve shows that older generations have accumulated wealth at a much faster rate than their younger cohorts. Here’s a closer look.

Generations and wealth defined

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Here are the generations we examined for the study:

  • Silent generation (1928-1945): 6.33% of the population in 2021
  • baby boomers (1946-1964): 21.44%
  • Generation X (1965-1980): 19.73%
  • Millennium (1981-1996): 21.95%

In 1998, the share of the US population under 40 held 13.1% of total US wealth. Today, those under 40 hold only 6% of total wealth.

This means that Millennials and Gen X own less than half the wealth that older generations had when they were the same age.

In 2021, the vast majority of the country’s wealth (78.1%) belonged to the older generations, with the baby boomers holding 52.2% of the country’s wealth and the silent generation 15.2%.

Generation X (aged 41-56) own 27.6% of the country’s total wealth, while millennials (aged 25-40) own only 5% of the country’s total wealth. So, as a group, baby boomers are more than 10 times richer than millennials.

Noteworthy when it comes to the distribution of millennial wealth, it was recently revealed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has an estimated net worth of $ 97 billion, single-handedly owns 2% of all the wealth of millennials.

Next, we’ll look at the average wealth per generation historically. To get as accurate a view as possible, we took inflation rates into account. We look at the average wealth of different generations when they were in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

Average wealth at age 30

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If we compare Generation X and Millennials, we see that Millennials are 23.7% worse off than Generation X in terms of accumulated wealth at around the same age.

By the time Gen Xers were in their 30s, they had an average wealth of $ 84,414 (factor in inflation), while Gen Y had an average wealth of $ 64,412.

The average baby boomer was wealthy $ 132,960 in their 30s, more than double the wealth of millennials of the same age.

Year Generation Average wealth per person With inflation (until 2021)
1989 Baby boomers $ 58,698 $ 132,960
2005 Generation X $ 61,540 $ 84,414
2020 Millennials $ 63,523 $ 64,413

40 years

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When baby boomers were in their 40s, they had an average wealth of $ 195,994. Gen Xers had accumulated a fortune of $ 131,021 at around the same age.

Year Generation Average wealth per person With inflation (until 2021)
1996 Baby boomers $ 115,686 $ 195,994
2021 Generation X $ 131,021 $ 131,021

50 years

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When the youngest of the Silent Generation hit their 50s in 1996, their average wealth was $ 292,210. Using historical inflation rates, that number equates to wealth of $ 495,057 in present value.

Baby boomers held an average wealth of $ 629,683 in their 50s, which equates to $ 704,158 in value today.

The worst is Gen X who, on average, had $ 396,293 when they started in their 50s. That’s 43.73% less than what baby boomers were when they were the same age.

Year Generation Average wealth per person With inflation (until 2021)
1996 Silent generation $ 292,210 $ 495,057
2014 Baby boomers $ 629,683 $ 704,158
2020 Generation X $ 396,293 $ 396,293

What does the future hold?

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Baby boomers are considered the richest generation in history, but what happens when that wealth is passed on to younger generations?

A study by Coldwell Banker estimates that millennials are expected to inherit more than $ 68 trillion from their predecessors by 2030, which means in less than 10 years they will have accumulated up to five times the wealth they currently hold.

Methodology

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The demographics and wealth data for the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y are derived from the US Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve. At time of research, no corresponding data was available for Gen Z.

Inflation rates have been calculated using SmartAsset’s inflation calculator.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation for clicking on links in our stories.


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