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Shrinking incomes for young adults

By Crissinda Ponder · Bankrate.com
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Posted: 11 am ET

If you’re younger than 45, getting your desired income is more difficult than it was just a decade ago.

According to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest survey of consumer finances, median household income for Americans ages 35-44 fell 14 percent between 2001 and 2010 -- to $53,900 from $63,000.

For those in the workforce who are younger than 35, their median income also dropped 14 percent during that decade, going from $40,900 to $35,100.

The most depressing statistic: Working Americans with college degrees saw their median income fall from $83,100 to $73,800 -- an 11 percent decline.

More recently, between 2007 and 2010, the decline in median income hit more highly educated families, families with heads-of-household younger than 55, and families living in the South and West regions of the country, the survey points out.

Overall, median income declined across demographic groups. Only a few groups, such as retirees, experienced rising or stable incomes.

The Federal Reserve Board cites families’ decision-making and the state of the broader economy for affecting finances.

The trickle-down factor of our hemorrhaging economy seems more pronounced, as the young 'uns in the workforce younger than 35 have to pull more than their fair share of weight and work even harder for a few extra bucks.

As a (very) recent college graduate, I find these numbers to be disturbing -- no, downright scary. If that income level keeps falling, will I be able to live off an income characteristic of those in the middle 50 percent of all earners in my age range? Do I need to beef up a side hustle and make it one of my primary sources of income?

Maybe working from home and holding down a full-time job don’t seem too tough to handle after all, especially after being slapped in the face with these numbers.

Crissinda Ponder is a reporting intern for Bankrate. Follow her on Twitter @CrissiPonder.

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Jack Schmidt
July 06, 2012 at 2:03 am

I completely agree with Joe!!!!!!

July 05, 2012 at 11:51 pm

This is evidence that we know has been coming which is that the Gen X and Gen Y adults will continue to see a lower standard of living than their parents. The younger people continue to want to live like their parents but that is just not going to happen regardless which political party is running the White House. We haven't realized that we are actually working in a worldwide economy. Everyone compares things to the "old days" but we are in the new world and things are not the same. When 75% of our economy depends on people buying more stuff that is a problem. It is a bigger problem because when we buy more stuff there are more people in China and India working jobs not here in the US as it was in the old days. We still have some 30% of high school students dropping out of schools across the country. What are we going to do with millions of uneducated people who want high wages and a high standard of living? They won't get work because someone in another country will do the job for less money. If we don't get more people educated their standard of living and incomes will continue to decline. We need well educated workers for a new high tech economy.

July 05, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Corporations are composed of shareholders, who are people. If you have a pension at work, you are in the stock market if you know it or not. Unions are also composed of members who pay dues, so the same rules must apply.Our economic problems go way back before any recent president. But the one we have now has only made things worse.
If you hired to be the manager of a burger shop, and the old manager left it a mess, and 4 years later, you had not fixed it, you would be out on your behind! Np excuses!

gene nowak
July 05, 2012 at 7:52 pm

And who was the administration during that time? George W.! Now Romney wants us to elect the Republicans back into power so they can lower it further.

I'm sorry!!! That is why after 45 years I burned my Republican Voting Card. They have gone too far overboard where the people no longer matter and only the lobbyists and corporations have voice and rule. Maybe it is time to get them all out of power and elect someone that answers AGAIN to the people, instead of corporations. OH YES, I FORGOT! ACCORDING TO THE BUSH DOMINATED SUPREME COURT THEY ARE ALSO PEOPLE!!!